NEW YORK - Airbnb and office furniture collided this week at New York's 2017 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) when Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia unveiled a 38-piece snap-together furniture collection.
Airbnb, which has grown from a 15-employee startup to a $31 billion worldwide operation in just nine years, has already been forced to move its headquarters five times due to its growth. Holding the open workspace in high regard, Gebbia had trouble finding office furniture that could accommodate his growing company and his preferences.

Armed with an industrial design and graphic design degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, Gebbia took matters into his own hands by filling out a sketchbook with furniture ideas. He then met with furniture company Bernhardt Design, who agreed to manufacture his Neighborhood collection, a contemporary furniture line that snaps together like Lego pieces.


The entire 38-module collection is based around two “building block” designs: a high-backed seat for noise control and a low-backed one for open conversations. 

“Joe’s idea of using two simple building blocks to create an entire community of flexible products was ingenious,” states Bernhardt Design president Jerry Helling. “The beauty of the line is that it is easily and instantly adaptable by the people using it.”

The collection includes ottomans, tables, and high-back chairs that can be arranged in various configurations. The furniture is light enough so pieces can be quickly reconfigured between meetings without needing to call in a moving crew.


Designed from scratch: Airbnb's new international HQ

Set inside a previously vacant 43,000-square-foot warehouse, Airbnb’s headquarters has been completely designed from scratch.

It's also meant to address the worst parts of the open workspace, says Gebbia, which can be plagued by noise and lack of privacy. Neighborhood is made of soft materials, even for the base of tables, which help absorb sound.
Gebbia plans to donate royalties that he’ll receive from the Bernhardt line to his alma matter’s scholarship fund.
Photos by Bernhardt Design

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.