Uncommon Solutions, Part 2

by Sarah Weber

For the Airbnb CX Hub, ‘uncommon solutions’ was our design mantra. In addressing this, we did several in house tests studying the effect of staining on plywood sheathing, in regards to the creation of color, texture and patterning. Through this, we discovered a white wash mix that not only whitened the soft wood portion of doug-fir sheathing, but deepened the appearance of sapwood portion of it – creating a graphic effect that reveals itself as you move closer to it. Alternately, we found that a warm gray wash on the sheathing blended the wood densities creating more of a texture. These findings were used to create two environmental choices for people to work in – an active space, where the white washed wood panels were used and a focused space, where the textural gray panels were used.

Additionally, we weren’t able to find the right product solution for a light fixture that would go over a large, communal island in the main break room of the historic Blagen Block that housed, Airbnb. It seemed that nothing had the scale or presence that would fill the gracious ceiling height, adequately light the island or relate the surrounding design. In response, we developed an alternate profile and size for an aluminum spun fixture and worked with ANP Lighting to make it happen. The result is an impressive and one-of-a-kind light whose presence makes the space.

One of the functional program elements of the Airbnb CX Hub was standing height work surface that also served as storage for personal belongings in their progressive free-desking environment. The design parameters for this piece, fondly dubbed the ‘standing-landing’ was developed by Bora team and executed by Airbnb Environments and local fabrication shop Super-Fab. An in-house mock-up of this product was used to refine its shape and shop visits by the design team helped to finesse its details.

Our efforts have resulted in the creation of signature installations that reinforce the design experience and strengthen brand identity. They have become an ingrained way in which we create responsive designs.