A year after signing a six-year lease, Airbnb has opened its large new office in downtown Seattle — with space for 300 employees.
The opening comes two years after the San Francisco giant first established a foothold in the Pacific Northwest with a small team in WeWork’s Westlake Tower office, and signals an intent to recruit heavily from Seattle’s deep engineering talent pool.
“We’re excited about growing our team in Seattle, where there’s an incredible depth of talent,” said Ari Steinberg, Airbnb’s director of engineering and head of the Seattle office, in a statement. “This office space and our company culture have created an environment for us to recruit the best talent the market has to offer.”
An accomplished engineer, Steinberg worked for Facebook’s Seattle office before founding Vamo in 2012. Airbnb acquired the startup, which helped users book trips with stops in multiple cities, in 2015.
Inside the Airbnb Seattle Office
Airbnb’s Seattle job board describes the team here as a “startup within a startup,” and part of a “new initiative of distributed engineering teams.”
The new office takes up two floors in the 8th + Olive building downtown, according to a Geekwire report published last year, and spreads over 42,000-square-feet. It is located in the heart of the central business district and is within walking distance to Pacific Place, Pike Pine Corridor and South Lake Union.
Airbnb’s in-house architects worked with Portland firm Bora Architects on the Seattle office, and focused on allowing natural light in to offset the city’s often-dim weather. Brick walls, murals, bare timber and rows of plants adorn communal areas, and 12 of the 36 meeting rooms are designed to evoke Airbnb listings around the world. The “Nairobi room,” for example, is modeled on a 1950’s school bus — complete with real bus windows. The architects made sure to reference the Pacific Northwest in their design, too, with an art installation made of rope in a central atrium designed to imitate Mount Rainier and the bodies of water that surround it.
“This was the rare opportunity to tailor a work environment to a specific group,” said Airbnb Environments Executive Creative Director Aaron Taylor Harvey in the statement. “Engineers and product designers need quiet desk spaces to focus, but also easily accessible tools for in-person communication. They have high standards, and this space exceeds all of them.”
Airbnb Seattle Jobs
Airbnb has over 3,000 employees located around the world. The Seattle team was established in 2016 but worked out of a co-working space before growing large enough to warrant their own space.
The office was originally planned to house engineers, product designers and data scientists, but is now home to a variety of roles. According to an article done by Medium, Airbnb employees in the Seattle office range from foundational infrastructure and customer service tech support to product managers and content strategists.