Caring about capsule concepts like this: Airbnb recently revealed a new evolution of its sharing economy. Slated to open this fall, the Yoshino Cedar House is a semi-communal space that nurtures relationships within its walls as well as within the rural Japanese community in which it resides. Designed by architect Go Hasegawa, the two-story building— entirely clad in local cedar trees—enables communal gathering on the ground floor with bedrooms upstairs. Meanwhile, inhabitants of Yoshino—a village in the rural Nara district of Japan—maintain the Airbnb listing, with proceeds reinvested in cultural organizations. A community incubator on multiple levels, the house addresses a pressing concern in rural Japan, as young professionals leave home for the cities, never to return.
The Yoshino Cedar House is the inaugural offering of Airbnb co-founder and CPO Joe Gebbia’s new design studio Samara, based in Tokyo, which endeavors to “bring together design and engineering experts from Airbnb to further avant-garde ideas and build advanced services that explore new areas of the Airbnb community.” If it works, the community house could be replicated elsewhere. Gebbia says: “We’ve sprouted our first seed with the Yoshino Cedar House,” Gebbia says, “and we’ve got a lot more on the way.”