Airbnb's new Tokyo headquarters prove that the travel brand's famed 'belong anywhere' ethos extends to its employees as well as 60 million worldwide users.
On the back of lacklustre staff feedback forms, the drab Shinjuku corporate base was razed to the ground and reimagined. Neighbourhood, community and urban tranquility were the three interlinking concepts behind the new space, designed in collaboration with local interior architects Suppose Office Design to reflect Japanese culture.
A double-height, foliage-filled atrium leads to a generous communal kitchen and workspace, where bespoke finishing touches come courtesy of local manufacturers – New Light Pottery for the lighting design and contractor Setup for the adjustable height wooden office tables.
Masterminding the design from Airbnb's side was the in-house Environments Team, who are self-confessed 'culture-keepers', project manager Rebecca Ruggles explains. 'We carry certain standards through every Airbnb office, so when you walk in, you know where you are even without a logo on the door, but we also partner with the local employees to ensure that the design has a true sense of place.'
Airbnb staff committed more than just ideas and suggestions to the project. In the colourful Tijuana room, decorations were donated by the mother of one of the local employees, Saori Okura, whose travels through Mexico resulted in the impressive collection of artefacts that now line the sunshine yellow walls. In fact, the boardrooms read like pages in a travel guide – each one is inspired by a different listing that Airbnb has on the books, so staff can travel the world as they dash between meetings. All in a day's work.