What Is Airbnb Doing at Design Miami?


One of the coolest pop-up projects at in Miami this week isn’t sponsored by a luxury auto brand, or even a gallery. It was staged by San Francisco’s startup darling Airbnb, a vacation rental website.

“Belong. Here. Now.”, an interactive installation located just outside the Design Miami/ market, is the brainchild of Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky. Turns out, these guys are a couple of Rhode Island School of Design grads looking to make their mark on South Beach.

That they are also savvy entrepreneurs doesn’t hurt. To create something new, Chesky and Gebbia collaborated with the Chicago-based architecture and design firm, Design With Company, to present work from emerging artists throughout the week of Design Miami/ (December 2-6).

“Over the years, Airbnb has become a platform that, among other things, demonstrates how people live today and how they relate to their physical spaces. That’s why we want to work together,” said Design With Company co-founder Stewart Hicks.

It’s no small feat to launch an outdoor event during Miami fair week, and keep up the pace rain or shine. But “Belong. Here. Now.” is continually buzzing with experiences created by next-gen artists and performers across a variety of mediums, from food to music, illustration to furniture.

Taking up residency here is cultural powerhouse Kim Hastreiter from Pink Martini, who entertains visitors with an improv performance. Yinka Ilori, an artist who remakes vintage furniture, invites guests to listen to his Nigerian parables, prompting them to engage by creating stories of their own.

Our personal favorite is the big green “Wishing Wall,” from Great Things to People (gt2P.) Here, visitors write a wish on paper — describing a dream destination they most want to visit — and place it inside a wall made of hundreds of hand-made aluminum polygons.

“We put our wishes in the wall in our studio in Chile, of dream galleries where we’d like to present, or things we wish to create,” said Guillermo Parada, 34, co-founder and architect of gt2P. The “Wall” concept, he explained, came from a feeling of being on vacation and picking up hollow shells on the beach. “It’s always a time of time of infinite happiness and hope. And we wanted to link that feeling with wishes,” he added.

Based in Santiago, Chile, gt2P is an award-winning studio producing architecture, art, and design projects known for incorporating digital and projection technologies into traditional materials and techniques. “Belong. Here. Now.” at Design Miami/ is their debut project with AirBnb.

Airbnb is presenting “Belong. Here. Now.” in collaboration with Design Miami/, which runs December 2-6.

—Jennifer Parker