Designing with Snoop Dogg and Airbnb for SXSW
Despite being a blonde chick raised mormon in Coos Bay, Oregon, I did my senior college history thesis on the racial appropriation of music via Hip Hop. Actually shocking, I know. I used to be a massive fan of hip hop and its not that i’m not anymore, but i’m just way behind in music in general. So when Airbnb told me that Snoop might be one of the artist I would work with I was PSYCHED because I’ve always loved him. Snoop? He’s legit, not a young wanna be gangsta; he’s classic and current, old school and new school and crazy talented. Plus he has style. You would be shocked at how generic some famous people’s style can be but Snoop’s never is and I knew that we could do something interesting together. We were made for eachother, Snoop and I.
Here’s a bit of background for the project: Airbnb wanted do an experiential marketing campaign where we designed these three Kithaus‘ with three musicians at SXSW. These musicians filled out a questionnaire that helped Ginny and I come up with an initial design plan. We presented it, they approved it and then we installed it where it remained live for 5 days in Austin last week during SXSW. And the whole event turned out pretty awesome. (Check out the first one we did HERE and look at Moby’s, Lake Bell’s, Molly Sims‘, Anjelica Huston’s and James Franco’s).
For Snoop his questionnaire revealed that he loves the following: Versace (which he says you can’t say just once, you have to say ‘Versace, Versace, Versace’), Jamaica, WEED, prohibition era style, the ’70’s, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, the movie ‘The MACK’, and, again … pot. (FYI it is legal in LA, he has a card, and I will withhold my opinion of the substance even though it was hilarious to have to incorporate it into a design project).
So before we met with him we came up with a rough mood board to show him based on his likes:
We wanted it to be comfy and lounge-y, with a 70’s club feel, some stoner references but in a luxe (and non-tacky) way. The wallpaper in the upper left hand corner of the board would be a custom cannibus inspired paper in navy and gold – using the word ‘cannibus’ is far more hilarious than pot, btw. He requested blue, and remember he loves Versace so naturally gold was going to be in our color story. But we wanted to give him the option of also having a wallpaper full of quotes of the people that he loves – James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Marley and some Snoop quotes in there too which is what is running along the bottom. We would have done it where the font is small enough that it would just look like a texture until you got close enough and then you’d realize it was sentences and quotes. We figured it would be a fun stoner party game. The furniture was vintage Danish 70’s which was super loungey and there were some wood, peacock chair and plants to reference Jamaica.
But a few hours before the presentation we got a note from his people that he wanted it to feel more ‘Deco’ and ‘Speakeasy’ like. So we whipped this up real quick – making a few alterations.
We loved how this looked but it wasn’t feeling very Snoop to us. Then we met him and that pretty much changed everything, anyway. He loved both plans, but preferred the luxe high end/Deco one more. He loved that velvet sofa saying that the black leather danish 1970’s piece could have been ‘found on the streets on Inglewood’. Of course I wanted to assure him that no, he couldn’t get that piece on the side of the street but I understood what he was saying – he wanted something more rich and luxurious looking.
But the problem with that is that we just didn’t feel like that would look like him, either. After meeting him we realized that he is an insanely funny, interesting, smart in a way I can’t compete with and yet a totally crazy person. He free-styled constantly and threw out amazing, quotable one-liners every 2 minutes. And while, yes, of course he was stoned at the time, it was clear that his pod needed to feel way more colorful and interesting, and definitely have a sense of humor about it.
Also he had a few requests: He wanted the lights to constantly change colors – red to blue to yellow to green, all day long and he definitely wanted red or blue light bulbs in the lamps. He asked if our custom pot wallpaper could change colors and while I feel like in LA you can do almost everything, that seemed pretty much impossible on our budget. And you should have seen the look on my face – I mean, I’ve never gotten such a weird and terrifying request before … but the point was he wanted the mood to be exiting with lights.
So riddle me this, friends, how do you create a space that has both vintage crystal chandeliers and flashing red/blue/purple LED lights in it? How do you make it look both luxe and kinda gangsta at the same time? Classy and yet, as Snoop says, ballin’? It was HARD, but such a fun challenge. So after days of us looking at each other like we might be designing the ugliest space on the earth we finally finished the mood board that got approved:
And here was my pitch:
“Snoop Dogg’s man cave will be a mix of laid back stoner comfort and Versace luxe… in Jamaica. He loves the 1970’s (and films like The Mack) so some of the furniture will be from that era and be super lounge-y and yet totally stylish. He loves blue, red and purple and wears a lot of black, so the cave will be predominantly these colors with gold (to bring in the Versace) as an accent and wood and natural fibers (to reference Jamaica) as textures.
There will be a stoner inspired custom wallpaper treatment with a deco weed design in navy blue on a mirrored gold back. Snoop loves red and wants a throne so there’ll be a red leather egg chair which is super loungy yet masculine and weird. There’ll be lots of crystal chandeliers with a deco vibe but the white bulbs will be replaced by red and blue bulbs. There is a custom illuminated sign that will read BOSS and have color spectrum flashing lights alla Snoop’s style and request. It will be exciting, interesting, inviting and totally Snoop”.
For the outside we would bring in some peacock chairs (inspired by that awesome photo of Snoop and the requested additionally by him) with some plants that looked like weed and other tropical plants. So Tajima, the creative agency we work with who coordinated with Kithaus’ took our mood board and with our direction created this rendering:
It took us probably 15 edits to get to that point where we were happy with it. And then still we were secretly ‘is this awesome or hideous???????’ (The exterior color is part of a greater Edward Scissorhand inspired exterior design plan which i’ll explain in tomorrows post).
Let me tell you about the sign. We figured that a custom sign (with LED color changing lights) could bring in the feeling that he wanted it was just a matter of coming up with the right word or phrase. Snoop said ‘Boss’ twice in his questionaire. When asked how he would describe himself he said ‘Boss’ and ‘The Mack’. We thought about ‘Dope’ because that has a double meaning, too, but then ‘Boss’ just seemed funnier. Its both an adjective and a noun – he’s super Boss and he’s the Boss. Its just funny. And then at the last minute, while following him on instagram, we realized that obviously BOSS should be BO$$, as he spells it, so we called the sign company and made the change. When we picked it up from the sign company and turned it on, I was totally speechless – either we were genius’ or we had totally lost our minds.
Once we started styling the space it really started coming together. That wallpaper was insane in a good way. The sofa from ShopClass was beautiful in a lounge-y deco way. The Boss sign was just so BO$$.
There she is. Is this pop-up very ‘ME’? Uh, no…. And yet I love it – that wallpaper, sofa, coffee table, side table and most of the accessories actually are me in a weird way, too. But more importantly it is totally Snoop. He loved is so much you wouldn’t believe.
Obviously I didnt hire a photographer (clearly). There were a bunch of professional photographer floating around but its been hard to get my hands on the photos so this is me, using my iphone photos. Not my best work but I figured it was just important to really see what was in the space. That weird box on the upper left is an air conditioner. its mounted almost like a flat screen TV, but we faced it out with wallpaper so it could go away even more.
Resources: Rug from Z Gallerie (and yes, its slightly too small), Coffee table from Organic Modernism, Side table from Target, Tray from Target by Nate Berkus, navy/gold pillows and faux fur throw from Z Gallerie. Marble lamp and geode stash box from West Elm.
Please notice the red lightbulb in the lamp. I’m telling you, if you spend a few hours in a room with only red lightbulbs new white bulbs will make you feel like you are living in an episode of Orange is the New Black. Those things really are warm and inviting, if not totally insane.
Yes, that is a brick of gold and some gin and juice there in the corner. It’s all about the details. We had his favorite movies, books, games and even installed that flat screen TV and X BOX 360.
After we were done Ginny and I were 100% sure that Snoop would like it. We actually LOVED it and strangely so did all of our friends. Brian walked into it and loved it, even Charlie lit up and stared at that sign for minutes. I know it’s really hard to get a sense of it from my stupid iphone photos but trust me that when you were inside of it, you wanted to party and never leave.
So Snoop arrived, checked his custom rhinestone encrusted mailbox (that only took Ginny 9 hours to bedazzle) where he was greeted with an issue of high times – I told you .. the details.
And then …. yea … he was into it. He called me in, passed all the paparazzi who had booked interviews with him, and gave me a massive hug with a lot of generous words about how he wants to transport it all to his house in LA and how we should go there and design it, etc. He was shocked – over and over about all the details and how much it felt like him. Very satisfying indeed.
So there we are: Me, Snoop and Ginny. One of my favorite projects to date.
Watch this video where you get a way better sense of the space and hear him speak about the pod, Airbnb and probably weed.
And then this is the video of Snoop and chatting about design where I presented him the ideas. It was 11pm and 80 degrees – it’s not my best work, but it’s not about me, anyway. Snoop carries the video.
So what do you all think about Snoop’s pod? Would you say its BO$$? Was this shocking? Do you think we pulled it off? Tell me everything …
(Disclaimer: I/we do not condone or promote any drug use but its also not my job to judge my client on liking a legal hobby. It was his request. Had he wanted me to design a heroine or pornographic themed house, I would not have.)
Renderings: Tajima Creative Partners | Louis Polidori
Landscape: Big Red Sun Austin