Airbnb has launched its own in-house innovation and design studio, named Samara. It will employ design and engineering experts from Airbnb to work on creative ideas broadly related to the company’s remit, exploring architecture, product design, software engineering and new economic models. As described on its website, it’s a chance for Airbnb’s “community values to evolve beyond travel and hospitality and into our daily lives.”
Samara’s brand marque is a simple adaptation of the Airbnb logo by DesignStudio, breaking the continuous line of the looping “A” with a dot — suggesting the studio is a small break from the norm in the wider Airbnb operation.
The studio’s first project is the Yoshino Cedar House, a structure originally created with Tokyo-based architect Go Hasegawa for Kenya Hara’s House Vision exhibition in Tokyo. The house will now be permanently installed in the rural Japanese town of Yoshino where it will be a bookable Airbnb location maintained by the community. Proceeds earned will be used to strengthen the legacy and future of the town, which has struggled as young people have migrated away.
Joe Gebbia, co-founder of the online accommodation rental marketplace and graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, announced the launch of the offshoot: “Samara is all about generating new ideas and building products that serve the Airbnb community.”