airbnb's tokyo office provides nature-themed respite from hectic city life
 

airbnb's tokyo office provides nature-themed respite from hectic city life

airbnb’s new tokyo office has opened in japan, with a design that seeks to unite both local and global cultures. the 500 square meter interior project, which was developed in collaboration with suppose design office, is located in the city’s busy shinjuku district. from the reception and café area, a wooden path leads to a series of building-like meeting rooms, designed using distinctive exterior cladding and interiors based on existing airbnb listings.

airbnb tokyo office
a double-height atrium welcomes natural light from above
all images by PERIPHERY

 

 

airbnb’s environments team conducted research and interviews with the company’s tokyo-based employees to conceptualize the initial program and floor plan. architecture firm suppose design office then developed the layout and the internal design elements. employees are able to utilize a range of work configurations including communal tables, height adjustable desks, private and semi-private phone booths, lounges, and cafés — encouraging socializing and engagement.

airbnb-tokyo-office-interiors-japan-suppose-design-office-designboom-02
the workplace offers respite from its chaotic surroundings

 

 

in response to employee feedback, the theme of ‘nature’ has been heavily incorporated into the design, offering a respite from the office’s chaotic surroundings. upon entering the space, staff are greeted with a reception area reminiscent of an outdoor café, where a double-height atrium welcomes natural light from above. a key aspect of the design is the ‘engawa’, an elevated platform covered with tatami mats inspired by traditional japanese culture. here, employees can remove their shoes and take in views of the surrounding environment. phone booths are made from local white oak and rice paper film, evoking the soft glow of a typical japanese tea house.

airbnb tokyo office
employees are able to utilize a range of work configurations, including communal tables

 

 

according to the design team, one of the biggest challenges was working with a fixed low ceiling height — typical of architecture in tokyo — and monotonous ceiling tiles. in order to make the space feel bigger and brighter, a design was formulated that incorporated a black ceiling with dropped lighting so that the plane above disappeared and gave the impression of a larger volume.

airbnb tokyo office
nature has been heavily incorporated throughout the design

 

 

within the office, tokyo-based contractor setup was commissioned to create bespoke tables, and local manufacturer new light pottery was commissioned to realize lighting designs. suppose design office developed café lighting reminiscent of floating lanterns, wall sconces that reference outdoor street lighting, and custom-made tables, crafted from local wood with black metal accents.

airbnb tokyo office
height adjustable desks and semi-private phone booths are provided

 

 

as with many of airbnb’s offices, rooms are influenced by real listings from around the world. in tokyo, spaces are inspired by international listings from prague, tijuana, and barcelona. the majority of authentic artwork and décor in the tijuana room was donated by the mother of one of the local employees, saori okura, who had traveled through mexico and collected various artifacts.

airbnb tokyo office
rooms are influenced by real airbnb listings from around the world

 

 

we are culture keepers, both for airbnb and cities, like tokyo, where we are lucky enough to have offices,’ says rebecca ruggles of airbnb’s environments team. ‘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 a local architect like suppose design and the local employees to ensure that the design has a true sense of place. the elements are not cheap imitations of that culture or copies of the same tech design we’ve begun to see around the world. instead, it feels authentic and true to the spirit of both airbnb and tokyo.’

airbnb tokyo office
an elevated platform covered with tatami mats is inspired by traditional japanese culture

 

 

the main concept of this project was to recreate the feeling and vibe of a tokyo neighbourhood,’ explains makoto tanijiri and ai yoshida of suppose design office. ‘instead of using simple walls, we laid out building-inspired volumes to articulate the space, dividing the various functions while keeping a continuity throughout the whole office. these buildings’ walls have different wooden cladding, to reflect the eclectic mix of volumes, textures and patterns that is tokyo, and to mark a threshold between an outside and an inside, a social and a private space. the general office is therefore a mix of outdoor-inspired furniture and lighting, trees and planters, and elements inspired to the japanese traditional architecture meant for people to enjoy a variegated landscape in which there is always a new way to work, socialize, live.’

airbnb tokyo office
phone booths are made from local white oak and rice paper film

airbnb tokyo office
socializing is encouraged throughout the office

airbnb tokyo office
bespoke tables were created especially for the project

airbnb tokyo office
the scheme was developed in response to employee feedback

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