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Designing with Capital Cities and Airbnb for SXSW

Alright folks, remember that man that we worked with a couple weeks called ‘Snoop Dogg‘? Yea, you do…. Well he was just one of three artists that we designed the airbnb pop-up houses with. The other two were Capital Cities and Allen Stone. So welcome to Capital Cities pop-up design. They are new on the scene but their song ‘Safe and Sound’ is crazy addictive and poppy.

These guys are really busy (one just had a baby) so they weren’t able to collaborate as much as say, Mr. Snoop, so we took the inspiration for the pop-up from this video (as well as the questionaire that they filled out).

And here’s what we wrote about them:

‘These two former jingle musicians met online and now swing dance together whilst wearing neon, therefore they belong in a crazy party room. We took inspiration from their video, Safe and Sound, and their fashion which has clear themes: retro Hollywood deco meets futuristic 80’s, in LA in 2014. They love the 1930’s yet want to live in Back to the Future II. They are mostly attracted to black, gray and white, but then find themselves in neon more often than they planned. They are fun and lively, yet restrained when they need to be. They are a duo of dudes, with a serious talent for beats, a clear sense of humor and a masters in style.’

There ere a few mood boards for them – first from the 1920’s – patterned wallpaper, black and white color palette, with a lot of deco motifs.

Capital Cities

But obviously thats not the whole story, so we brought in the 80’s: Capital Cities

Now you may ask ‘HOW can you combine deco with 80’s?  And the answer is – by pouring over these designs for hours and days and of course using a clear color palette with just the right amount of each so it feels balanced and intentional. Deco and 80’s are strangely similar due to the round, curvy nature of most of the furniture and patterns. This makes things easier and harder at the same time.

Capital Cities

It feels like a total party, right?

And then these were the actual pieces that we were going to bring in (many change from even this board to the final pod). We wanted to do bunk beds because in all of the pop-ups so far we didn’t, and since there are two of them it made sense to double it up. This black metal guy was super 80’s with its tubular metal, plus it was like $249 on Wayfair. 

These, below, were the pieces that we thought we were going to end up using:

Capital Cities

But things change a lot as you can imagine once you get inside the space. I’m not sure if other designers are like this, although I suspect they are, but its like you design it once on your computer and then you redesign it as soon as you get everything actually into the space. Sure, some things you can predict (a chandelier gets hung, the bedding goes on the bed) but so many other things change. Capital Cities

So this was the plan: (rendering done by the lovely people at Tajima Creatives)

Capital Cities

And inside it would look more like this:
Capital Cities

And here it is in real life:
Capital Cities

That picture kinda kills me. From now on i’m going to walk around with a photographer attached to my body to make sure that I get every shot that I want and need, in the angle that I want and need them. No matter. The pop-up was awesome.

And here are these two dudes checking it out:

Capital Cities

Inside the pop-up, like inside my brain, was a party. It had disco balls, saarinen chairs, glow in the dark wallpaper, and DIY’d bleached out stone washed pillows (that i’m not sure were terribly successful but they sure were 80’s).

Capital Cities

Excuse the lack of styled photos. Lets talk about that wallpaper first, shall we? We didn’t design it but we customized the colors to make it pop. Its normally just black and white so we changed it to gray and white and then added a bunch of random hot pink in there. The wallpaper place can’t do neon or florescent (just really bright) so we decided to buy glow in the dark duct tape and then we cut it to fit inside the windows of the buildings so when its dark they light up.Was a wonderful plan that I’m not sure actually worked because I was never there that late at night, but I love the idea of it.

white mod shelving

The shelves are full of vintage 80’s tech which made me feel ancient and happy at the same time.  (These are not styled by me or anyone for that matter, fyi – they are messy and I realize that – sorry!). There were vintage polaroids, boom boxes, clocks and even what looks like an answering machine. We even bought a bunch of vintage tapes  – as in music tapes. I’m old.

vintage outdoor chair

I wish that chair and ottoman were for purchase because I absolutely would have bought them (we rented them from a prop house in LA). They were actually originally purchased for the outside but when we put the awesome Platner chairs inside it fell a bit flat. They got lost and we needed WAY more color in there.
pink pod

Capital Cities

I had the pillows made by my upholsterer from inexpensive black and white cotton I purchased downtown, and then piped with neon. Seemed like an awesome idea at the time, but it was super hard to find other neon yellow accessories – most of the yellow objects we found were more of a traditional bright yellow, so it kinda clashed, but you hardly noticed it.

bunk detail

We made the denim pillows by spraying bleach on readymade pillows from Ikea. It strangely wreaked of fish until we ran it through the wash twice. It was our first go around and could be super cute in the right fabric and environment.

Capital Cities

Woah, there big hair. Thats me in a Capital Cities sandwich. Wait! I didn’t tell you about the neon sign behind … you can barely see it but there was this massive white neon sign hanging on plexi on the back of the porch. At night it was crazy fun.

Its hard to tell in this photo but what I think really elevated this space was the landscaping. We hired Big Red Sun in Austin to consult on landscaping since its not my forte and for each of the pods we gave them the style direction and they came up with the design plan. So for Capital, since it was 80’s with some futuristic elements we chose really graphic and kinda moon-like succulents and cacti. I think it turned out totally beautifully and I want to hire them for  my house.

Capital Cities

Capital Cities

So there you have it, folks. Capital Cities pop-up house. What do you think?

Photo credits: Vivien Killilea | Rush Jagoe for airbnb

Renderings: Tajima Creative Partners | Louis Polidori



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