Airbnb Co-Founder Joins Furniture Industry

From its humble beginnings, Airbnb is not considered a giant in its industry, said to be worth currently at $2.8 billion. In just a span of nine years, it changed headquarters four times because it outgrew the previous ones. For the company, it must have meant redecorating and rearranging.

That very experience was what inspired Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia to come up with his very own line of furniture. Unlike the modern pieces sold by traditional distributors of office furniture in NZ, Gebbia describes his furniture as ‘designed for changing workplaces.’ This is modular in nature which can be easily arranged depending on the needs of the business. The line is from Bernhardt Design.

Gebbia introduced the furniture line at theInternational Contemporary Furniture Fair, held in New York just recently. His line was named ‘Neighborhood’, comprising of tables, rolling ottomans, and couches. The couches feature high backs, intended to provide extra privacy for the user, but there were also those that have lower backs, which give users the ability to seat on both sides. You can arrange this as desired, either in a straight or curved pattern. People can also cover the end seats with the use of a table surface. The couches were mostly made of soft fabric, allowing these to absorb noise as much as possible. These also have the added feature of built-in outlets, a must in this modern age.

Those who know Gebbia personally were no longer surprised with his new venture. He has a background in design, having studied at the Rhode Island School of Design before he became the co-founder of Airbnb together with Nathan Blecharczyk.

According to Gebbia, he knows full well how furniture can be disconnected with their environments and in the way people work having experienced it firsthand. He took this as a cue to take notes on the possible furniture solutions for his own company and sketched designs whenever he can.

Fate must have been taking notice of his efforts because last year, he had the opportunity to meet Jerry Helling who happened to be the president of Bernhardt. They decided to collaborate and Gebbia’s line of furniture was born.

It may only be a while before makers of office furniture in NZ will come up with similar designs. Until then, designers and furniture makers can check out Gebbia’s furniture line for some inspiration.