In the neighbourhood: Joe Gebbia’s modular office furniture for Bernhardt Design
‘Neighborhood’ is on view at ICFF until 24 May. For more information, visit the Bernhardt Design website
655 W 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
The ‘Neighborhood’ collection is based on a simple building block, developed with a modular and mobile design solution that allows for endless configurations. Gebbia created a total of 38 unique modules, making it the largest collection released by Bernhardt Design to date.
The modules include high-back designs for extra privacy during meetings, while a series of low-back seats encourage creative brainstorming; ottomans and tables punctuate the collection. All elements can combine to create large landscapes or more intimate settings, with integrated technology and sound-absorbing materials.
‘Neighborhood’ by Joe Gebbia for Bernhardt Design
For the collection, Gebbia drew from his personal experience of frequently moving office in the early days of Airbnb, and the challenges he and his team faced to adapt existing furnishing to different spaces, while maintaining a sense of community and comfort. He was also able to put his product design training to good use – he studied at RISD before launching the company with fellow graduate Brian Chesky – and this collaboration was an opportunity to both reconnect with his design background and to develop a collection close to the Airbnb credo of openness and community.
‘At Airbnb, we celebrate the connections people make every day through our platform; connections with new places, new people and new cultures,’ he says, ‘[The collection] celebrates the beauty of these connections while providing comfortable, flexible solutions for the evolving workplace.’
The idea behind ‘Neighborhood’ is for the collection to not only work in an office, but in any public space, from airports to restaurants. ‘Joe’s idea of using two simple building blocks to create an entire community of flexible products was ingenious,’ says Bernhardt Design president Jerry Helling.
For Helling, Gebbia’s design prowess lies in the details behind the collection, such as the zig-zag stitching on each piece. ‘The beauty of the line is that it can be easily and instantly adaptable by the people using it,’ he adds, ‘rather than relying on an installation team to reconfigure a workspace.’