There are many awards for design and architecture: from incredibly prestigious accolades such as the Pritzker Prize to local competitions, there are hundreds of ways to be recognized for moving, innovative and impactful work. But a new architectural competition is upsetting traditional moulds. Instead, the judges want to see how crazy someone can come up with a design. Enter: the Airbnb OMG! Funds.
The short-term rental company announced last week that it will award $100,000 to 100 people to bring their otherworldly design ideas to life. The fund is named after the “OMG” category on the website, where users can find unusual accommodation options, such as a spaceship, a crane or a pirate ship (currently there are more than 30,000 listings in this group). The company is asking “anyone with an extraordinary idea”, whether an architect, a designer or a do-it-yourselfer, to submit their proposal to the competition in order to have the possibility of Airbnb funding the actual construction.
Four judges will evaluate the entries, looking for originality, feasibility, sustainability and the experience the project will offer potential guests. Iris Apfel, interior designer and fashion icon, is probably the most notable name on the panel, although Koichi Takada, founder of Sydney-based international studio Koichi Takada Architects; Bruce Vaughn, Vice President of Creative Experiential Products, Airbnb; and Airbnb superhost Kristie Wolfe, whom the company described as a “prolific OMG creator! Listings”, will also participate in the evaluation of applications. For inspiration, check out some of Wolfe’s funky Airbnbs, like a Potato Hotel, Crystal Peak Lookout, Big Island Tree House, and Cocoon Cottage.
The company noted a growing trend towards flexible living as a catalyst for competition, noting that Airbnb customers themselves are looking for more unexpected spaces as destinations, rather than just places to crash after a long day of exploring a new place. Applicants can submit their entries on the Airbnb website before the competition closes on July 22 at 11:59 p.m. ET.