Airbnb office, Dublin, by Heneghan Peng

Asked to design the Dublin office of accommodations listings company Airbnb, architect Heneghan Peng used industrial materials like plywood and chipboard to create a striking design scheme

How were you commissioned?

Mini-Competition, Airbnb asked a number of architects including us to respond to some spaces. They ended up selecting us.

AirBnB Dublin office

Photo: Ed Reeve

What was the brief from the client and how much were they involved?

Very involved client which made it fun. All construction and finishing needed to take place within eight weeks. Airbnb also use their listings to create the interiors of the meeting spaces.

AirBnB Dublin office

Photo: Ed Reeve

How did this brief affect the materials and design choices made?

The space is stripped back as much as possible to increase the available height, and create a raw space in which the meeting pods with their listing and 'the hill' are set. The exterior of the pods is chip board, we envisaged them as crates within which are the listings.

The materials are very architectural, plywood, chipboard, exposed tile floors, what makes it work is that the interaction with the more whimsical elements, especially the listings.

AirBnB Dublin office Heneghan Peng

Photo: Ed Reeve

How did your previous experience help you with this project?

It didn't. The client aspirations were to design a space specific to the Airbnb culture; how they work and what they do. There was no precedent in what we did nor in what we knew. To not be able to fall back on something was a bit scary but at the same time exciting.

AirBnB Dublin office Heneghan Peng

Photo: Ed Reeve

The one thing that may have helped us was our competition experience - we do lots of competitions so we need to generate ideas very quickly. We also involve everyone in the office in order to have lots of ideas at the outset. This was useful for this project.

AirBnB Dublin office Heneghan Peng

Photo: Ed Reeve

Can you explain the layout of the project?

This is a ground floor street front space, located on a corner. The space is long with windows along one of the long side. There is a separate street front entrance which was relocated to the corner, at the other end of the space is a dark area with no daylight.
The space is designed with two focal points as either end, the entrance with its 'pub' and the 'hill' in the dark zone.
The "Hill" thus has views over the entire space and makes a different kind of work space. Ironically the worst area in the office has become one of the most attractive.

AirBnB Dublin office Heneghan Peng

Photo: Ed Reeve

An important element was that the listings become part of the space so the meeting pods are dispersed throughout the work areas and two side of the pods are completely glazed.

AirBnB Dublin office Heneghan Peng

Photo: Ed Reeve

What problems or challenges did you face?

Speed and change. How does one do the same thing in half the time with twice the number of design ideas.

AirBnB Dublin office Heneghan Peng

Photo: Ed Reeve

What do you feel are the most unusual design elements in the project?

How an open collaborative space could offer everything from a quiet heads down spaces to open noisy discussion and all the variations in between.

AirBnB Dublin office Heneghan Peng

Photo: Ed Reeve

How do you think this project is pushing design forward - what makes it special?

It is pushing design forward not only in making a space that is in line with new ways of working, shedding the baggage of the standard core of meeting rooms with desks neatly arranged along the windows but rather a way of cultivating a new type of working relationship between client and architect where neither party has the complete answer yet only by the collective process between the two, a design unanticipated can happen.

AirBnB Dublin office Heneghan Peng

Photo: Ed Reeve





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