Airbnb: new community, new economy

Dream of a romantic pied a terre in the middle of the city? Want a quirky place to stay in style? Like cooking for yourself? Can’t afford a hotel? 

The images you see here are all places available to rent in BarcelonaHong KongNew York, Berlin, London for under $250 a night.

There are many reasons that someone might book a short term sublet apartment on AirBnb.  Somewhere between couch surfing and staying at a bed and breakfast, AirBnb has managed to create a new real world resource out of existing city space - apartments and houses already owned and occupied, but temporarily vacant.

The impact of this site on local urban economies has been astronomical with over 25,000 listings at the moment in 192 countries around the world.  Though the community of tenants and landlords connect online, the company is praised for creating a love for face to face relationships and mutual respect.  Lodgers can expect their host to give them tips about their favourite places in the neighbourhood and how to get around, travellers ask questions of their hosts that encourage them to see the city through new eyes.

An online community has created a bridge for a new type of international community, that shares space and information about their cities with one another.

As a company, we learned very early on that what makes collaborative consumption work, is trust.  To meet people in person, get to know them.  We opened those offices, not for marketing, not to grow the market that we already have in those cities - we actually opened them to better serve the existing hosts and travellers we have in those cities.  The more trust we can build, the better our platform and the better our marketplace will work." - Lukesic

TriplePundit: “Airbnb Builds Community, Not a Brand”

The Guardian: “Airbnb: grown up couch-surfing”

Financial Times: “Airbnb doubles bookings in half year”

Design Miami/Basel

Last week Design Miami/Basel opened in Switzerland showcasing some of the best galleries for collectible design.  

The ground floor opened up to a Jean Prouvé Metropole Aluminum House.  The structure won an award in a competition to create a “mass producible rural school with classroom and teacher accommodation” in 1949.  Even though Prouvé was very interested in housing production on a mass scale in the 50s, only a few of these were actual built.

Other galleries featured egg crate foam furniture by the industrial designer Roger Tallon. There was an incredible chandelier by Frederik Molenschot of lots of small mushroom shaped lampshades arranged on a swooping infinity loop.  Libby Sellers from London presented a variety of chess sets made from such materials as free weights and tree branches (see the one by Rolf Sachs in photo).  A great wall piece, aptly called The Clock Clock that uses programmed mechanical clocks to form a digital clock. 

Audi was the automotive sponsor, giving VIPs a lift to their next destination.


T Magazine: “Design Miami/Basel Something for Everyone”

ArtInfo: “A Jean Prouvé homeless shelter and Frederick Kiesler’s transformer chair tempt collectors at Design Miami/Basel” 

Empty House
Contemporary artist Rachel Whiteread creates ghostly casts in plaster of spaces.  The sculpture exist as a monument to the space that is not occupied by the objects she responds to.  Each cast reflects years of wear, where cracks have fissured, dust has gathered and wood has warped.
This piece entitled, “House” (1993) is a concrete cast of a Victorian house in East London, exhibited exactly where the original house once stood.  Controversial, some loved the work, others hated it and it was destroyed by the London Council about a year after it was made.  The Independent wrote about it, “Denatured by transformation, things turn strange here.  Fireplaces bulge outwards from the walls of the House, doorknobs are rounded hollows.  Architraves have become chiselled incisions running around the monument, forms as mysterious as the hieroglyphs on Egyptian tombs.”
Whiteread’s gallery
The Independent, “Rachel Whiteread, ‘I’ve done the same thing over and over’”
BBC Interview with Whiteread
Film on the making of House

Untitled (House), Rachel Whiteread, 1993