An avocado-shaped abode, junkyard tires buried in greenery, and a hexagonal beehive-inspired construction are among the winning designs of Airbnb’s OMG! Fund, a competition from the vacation rental platform soliciting design submissions for the “craziest and most unique” holiday home designs in locations across the world. The OMG! Fund launched in June and garnered a pool over 10,000 applicants. A prize of $100,000 will be given to each of the 100 winning proposals to help competition entrants realize the eccentric lodgings. Of the 10,000 submitted applications, 1,214 were treehouse proposals, 777 were fruit-shaped, and 961 incorporated music into their respective designs.
Winners of the contest will have just ten months to construct and furnish (and likely obtain permits for) their projects at which point they will be available for guests to reserve on Airbnb. Judging the pointedly off-the-wall submissions were design and style icon Iris Apfel, Australian architect Koichi Takada, Airbnb Superhost Kristie Wolfe, and Airbnb Vice President of Experiential Bruce Vaughn. The competition’s judges prioritized novelty architecture in the selections, particularly proposals that mimic the shape of an object or creature—flower pots, disco balls, dinosaur skulls, and on—and offer guests a unique experience.
“What an incredible journey it has been to be a part of the OMG! Fund judging process. There were so many inspiring stories and destinations that I had never heard of before that I’m now eager to visit,” said Wolfe in a press release. “As a builder myself, I can’t wait to watch these ideas come to life. These are more than just places to spend the night – each one offers an entire experience!”
Winning submissions are located in far-flung destinations spanning every corner of the globe, including an Alaskan ghost town, a desert in Mexico, and a barren South African landscape. To visualize the designs, the budding architects and designers, some of who are current Airbnb hosts, submitted digital renderings, hand-illustrated works, and collages to illustrate their proposed dwelling.
For just a taste of the wacky winning submissions, Igancio R.’s design Floating Avocado in an Avocado Farm, imagines a larger-than-life avocado-shaped dwelling in Chile. The all-green structure is spilt through its center to form wraparound glass windows. A wooden ramp leads into rounded vacation retreat, which is envisioned for a rural landscape with a mountainous backdrop. He explained that his avocado-themed Airbnb is all about the connection with nature.”
“I have spent most of my life on our family farm–the happiest memories of my childhood come from there,” he added. “It has something so special that just resonates with me. That’s why I have this dream, this calling, of sharing it with more people.”
In South America, Sustainable Beehive House in the Rainforest, by Esteban A. would bring a multi-level structure consisting of honeycomb-esque volumes for a jungle location in Costa Rica. Each of the five connected hexagonal volumes comprises one room within the vacation rental. A stateside submission, Modern Cereal Lover’s Paradise by Trey D., takes the second “b” in Airbnb, breakfast, to heart with an oversized colorfully-painted cereal box house. The flaps on the roof of the boxy house are creatively positioned to hold solar panels.
Modern Cereal Lover’s Paradise was far from the only winning submissions to incorporate renewable energy into an idiosyncratic design. OMG! Fund applicants were actively encouraged by Airbnb to incorporate sustainability into their proposals. Of the 10,000 applications, 7,931 of the designs featured solar panels. Meanwhile, OMG! Fund recipient Kimberly S.’s Tire-Shaped House Made of Junkyard Tires takes the repurposing of discarded materials to new heights with a multistory design that will be fabricated with old rubber tires swathed in greenery.
“The structure will be fashioned by repurposing 1,000 old junkyard tires and other recycled materials. The effect will be a stunning, unique and unforgettable experience—a creative environmental solution to a deflating tire problem!” elaborated Kimberly S., who is from the United States.
Since 2019 Airbnb bookings have increased an astounding 49 percent. An uptick in remote work and increased employment flexibility as well as larger movement away from urban environments to rural settings during the pandemic is attributed for this increase in bookings. In 2020, Airbnb attempted a more modest version of the OMG! Fund but shuttered the competition in May of 2020 due to the abrupt halt in global travel.
The 100 winning submissions will begin accepting reservations in summer 2023. The full list of winners can be viewed here.