Airbnb was a business idea born out of a need for cash: A pair of struggling entrepreneurs started renting out air mattresses in their San Francisco loft to make a quick buck and thought “Hey, we could be on to something.” Now, one of those Airbnb cofounders—Joe Gebbia—is launching another venture based on finding a personal fix: Modular office furniture.
You see, as Airbnb grew from two employees to thousands, the company kept having to move offices to accommodate new employees and new furniture pieces for them to use. But the old furniture often didn’t quite fit in the new space, inspiring Gebbia to imagine a utopian furniture line that was both reconfigurable and beautiful. Now, with the help of modern furniture company Bernhardt Design, he’s turned that dream into reality.
There are 38 components in Gebbia’s “Neighborhood” furniture line, ranging from tables to fully upholstered ottomans and chairs. And many of the pieces can be snapped together like Legos to form various configurations for any space. All of them feature soft materials to help absorb sound and cut back noise pollution found in today’s open-plan offices. The collection was just unveiled at the furniture show ICFF, part of NYCxDesign 2017 festivities this month.
Gebbia has pledged to donate any royalty income from his furniture line to the Rhode Island School of Design, his alma mater.