Airbnb has firmly established itself as the alternative to traditional holiday accommodation – for short stays and long. Now the rental platform is venturing towards new horizons with Samara, an in-house design studio intended to drive innovation in architecture, product design and software engineering.
The Yoshino Cedar House project will establish a communal centre in the rural Japanese town. Built in collaboration with Japanese architect, Go Hasegawa, the house design aims to forge deeper relationships between hosts, guests and the local community.
Bedrooms will be bookable on the Airbnb website and the communal spaces – complete with communal dining table made from locally sourced timber – will be open to guests and members of the Yoshino community alike.
Airbnb will donate a portion of the money from each booking to the local community “to strengthen the cultural legacy and future of the area”.
Although perhaps, in part, in response to the legal clashes Airbnb are battling in cities such as New York and Berlin, co-founder, Joe Gebbia, maintains the goal is to inspire community beyond your standard travel or hospitality experience.
Gebbia writes on Medium: “In the way that Airbnb’s design allows complete strangers to share experiences with one another, Samara seeks to design new kinds of experiences that address these factors in the hopes of fostering empathy… naturally.”
The Yoshino Cedar House will debut this summer at an architectural exhibition in Tokyo before its permanent installation in Yoshino. It will open to the public in October this year.