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Room at the Inn: Airbnb wants to design rentable spaces from the start

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The Seashell House / airbnb
Sharing your home these days may be little more than a side effect of having a bit of extra space, but if Airbnb gets its way, you’ll soon be renting out rooms in a much more purposeful manner. The 21st-century sharing economy has opened up our doors and brought out our most neighborly tendencies, and now, Airbnb wants to help design houses that have guests in mind from the start.

“The question that I can’t shake — it’s this question that keeps coming up for me is: What does the shared home of the future look like?” Joe Gebbia, Airbnb’s co-founder and chief product officer, told Co.Exist. “People are sharing homes at a rate that no one ever predicted, but residences and homes weren’t designed for it. They were designed around ideas of privacy and separation.”

But who needs privacy and separation when you’ve got paying boarders?

To further break down our walls, Airbnb is participating in House Vision, this year, an event that brings together designers, architects, and companies like Muji, Toyota, and Toto to examine the future of housing environments and build model homes. According to Gebbia, Airbnb will be the first U.S.-based company to participate.

While it’s unclear as of yet as to just what an Airbnb home would entail (will it be super smart or just one giant space with a series of cots?), Gebbia tells Co.Exist that we should think in “terms of whole apartment buildings designed to create a community for transient visitors. People could have separate spaces, but there would also be areas—such as a garden or dining space—that promote conversation.” Ultimately, he says, it’s about sharing a lifestyle, more than a physical location.

“Airbnb is about travel. And the idea that we would be able to influence or have a hand in the shaping of a home is beyond travel,” Gebbia concluded. That’s everyday life—and that’s cool.”

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