Airbnb { Open } LA

Architecture + Branded Environments

Airbnb { Open } LA



Airbnb { Open } LA

Travel is an ephemeral experience by nature. Landscapes and urban settings may be permanent or at least enduring, but as travelers pass through them in motion, their contexts last only as long as their own presence. Still, this kind of experience can heighten the senses and spark creativity. It is fitting, then, that attendees at the recent Airbnb Open LA hosting festival were invited to develop their own creativity through another ephemeral experience in a temporary space—more installation than venue. We at WOW Atelier were both honored and intrigued by the opportunity to create that installation.

For a week, we took over the 4,000-square foot BNKR flagship store, a street-level storefront in a 99-year-old Beaux Arts building. Our task was to design and build out a series of vignettes replicating feelings expressed by guests of Airbnb hosts to describe their experiences in different countries. Hosts became our guests, inspired within these spaces to express their creativity, writing their own stories, sharing them in audio or video interviews, contributing to typewritten haikus, or creating visual works in the studio with our new favorite artist Anne-Louise Ewen. Plenty of tea and coffee were on hand to keep ideas flowing in intentional conversation spaces.

The temporary nature of this project allowed us to experiment and exercise creativity in different ways that helped us to hone our design sensibility and demanded that we up our game to the level of the talent in the room! We had to draw on our eclectic skill sets, from intermedia sculpture to architectural sensibilities and passion for spaces as a vehicle for delivering genuine human experiences that can only happen in that moment in time. We used a variety of colors, textures, natural light and shadow effects to evoke feelings and sensations. We played with unexpected elements from tents of various colors to custom-built tea tables and paper-tube forests shaped both spaces and emotional responses, with metaphor and contextual associations

Airbnb is a subculture as much as it is a business, encouraging people to live adventurously and seek out new experiences, providing a framework that makes it possible. WOW Atelier came together as a firm so we as friends and partners could create places, paintings, photographs and real spatial experiences that could enrich the lives of others. This project felt like we were creating a place where we would want to be. It felt natural to work with people who share our kind of vibe.

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