AirBNB, A Kubrick War Room??


I know it’s the artistic choice, but anyone with a passing knowledge of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb” will know that The War Room set was decked out in green baize so it resembled a poker table, even though it wouldn’t show up in the black and white prints. Looks like AirBNB went for the best picture possible, rather than accuracy, when they decked out their board room in the style of the Ken Adams set.

I think there’s a pun somewhere in that mix about the AirBNB service…

San Francisco magazine says the room, which has its own Foursquare listing, is all part of the “arms race” for inspirational office space so you will never (ever ever) stop working. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bubble—just don’t forget how this movie ends.

The cinematic homage isn’t the only affect in Airbnb’s new offices at 888 Brannan Street in Soma. It also features a Skee-Ball machine. An infantilizing extravagance? Hardly, saysMetropolis magazine. It’s a riff off an early listing that tried to sell a Skee-Ball machine as sleeping quarters, making Airbnb new workplace “game section” muy authentico.

There’s even a replica of “the living room of the founders’ original Rausch Street apartment, faithfully copied down to the lucky red velvet Jesus statue,” in case you were wondering whether Airbnb’s cofounders gave themselves enough credit.

The architects behind this wallpaper war sound every bit as self-aggrandizing as their clients, by San Francisco magazine’s account:

“There were times when we were challenged as architects to push the limits more than other clients would ask us to,” says Lisa Bottom, a principal at Gensler, the global design firm behind the Airbnb and Facebook offices. “But our job was to be an enabler of their company’s culture.”

After all, when work-is-life-is-work, getting compensated for your labor is a secondary concern:

“It’s not enough to give employees a big paycheck and a Ping-Pong table anymore. You can only throw so much money at people,” says David Galullo, chief executive officer of the branding and design firm Rapt Studio.

The architects brush off the memory of abandoned ping pong tables and Aeron chairs rolling down the hills of San Francisco:

“A lot of gimmicky design—silly furniture for silly furniture’s sake—came out of the last dot-com boom,” says Collin Burry, design director at Gensler. “That world is kind of trite now; that irrational exuberance is tired.”

All that effort put into Airbnb’s headquarters and no one installed a mirror.

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[Image via Metropolis magazine]

Ewan Spence
Ewan Spence is a blogger, author and writer based out of Edinburgh, Scotland. In addition to his own blog, he has contributed and contributes to BBC News, BBC Magazine (online), The Stage (UK Arts and Entertainment Newspaper), Computing (VNU), iProng Magazine, IT Pro, O’Reilly’s Make Magazine, Palmtop Magazine, Podcast User Magazine, UK Tech and UK Mobile Blognation, PDA Essentials, Mobile Messaging 2.0 and All About Symbian.

He wrote the book Rapid Mobile Enterprise Development for Symbian OS and has audio program commissions for BBC Radio 5 Live – Through the Night and Pods and Blogs, Computer Outlook Talk Radio Show and Talk 107. He also regularly speaks at and moderates panels at high profile technology conferences around the world.
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