Spend a Night on Airbnb’s Floating House Art Installation on the River Thames

Home-sharing company Airbnb has sent a full-sized house floating down the River Thames in celebration of London’s Deregulation Act, which passed last month. The act means that Londoners are now free to rent their homes for up to 90 days a year without fear of fines and without having to secure any kind of permission from the local government. For frequent Airbnb users and the company itself, it’s a major victory—worthy of a very public celebration.

The bright blue home, which prominently features the Airbnb logo, stands at 8 meters (approximately 26 feet) high, and has two bedrooms, a living room, a working bathroom, and a garden complete with grass, plants, a doghouse, and an apple tree.

Photo: Mikael Buck/Airbnb

Photo: Mikael Buck/Airbnb

It was designed by twin brothers Nick and Steve Tidball, a London-based advertising duo who also have degrees from the Bartlett School of Architecture.

“For the Floating House, we were inspired to create a fairy tale structure in the middle of London—something that would allow people to see the city from a different angle,” the pair wrote in an announcement of the project on Airbnb. “Think Primrose Hill meets Pixar; it has all the charms of suburbia…but as you’ve never quite experienced them before.”

The house began its voyage today, and will continue to float through London until May 22. It will host community events and even an overnight stay. If you’d like to spend a night in the high-end houseboat, you can enter the contest on Airbnb before May 20 to win an evening’s stay for four people.

Photo: Mikael Buck/Airbnb

Photo: Mikael Buck/Airbnb

This isn’t the first time that a massive, floating installation has captured the attention of the world’s art and design geeks. Beginning in 2013, Florentijn Hofman’s rubber duck sculpture has traveled the world, making stops in China, Korea, Australia, and Brazil (see Is Giant Rubber Duck Masking an Environmental Disaster? and Giant Rubber Duck Vanishes in Chinese Flood) only to be followed up by an even cuter pink kitten (see Florentijn Hofman Follows Up His Giant Rubber Duck with Towering Pink Kitten). Sydney Harbor recently played host to a giant inflatable sea turtle meant to inspire awareness about the Great Barrier Reef (see Giant Inflatable Turtle Sculpture Sails into Sydney Harbor).

Photo: Mikael Buck/Airbnb

Photo: Mikael Buck/Airbnb

In 2012, architect David Kohn and artist Fiona Banner installed a similar project above the same river. A Room For London was a boat-like vessel that was perched on the Queen Elizabeth hall at the Southbank Centre overlooking the River Thames as if somehow stranded. But rather than having to enter a contest to win a stay in the structure, Londoners could pay about £120 a night. Tickets sold out in 12 minutes.

Photo: Mikael Buck/Airbnb

Photo: Mikael Buck/Airbnb

Those in London should look out for the big blue house passing through neighborhoods like Chelsea, Westminster, and Canary Wharf this week, while the rest of us will just have to settle for following along on Instagram.


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