Airbnb’s studio Samara appoints Simon Waterfall as creative director

Waterfall, who has founded a number of digital consultancies including Poke, will also head up the design and innovation studio’s operations team.


Online holiday rental company Airbnb has appointed Simon Waterfall as creative director and head of operations at its in-house design and innovation studio, Samara.

Airbnb founded Samara at its San Francisco headquarters in 2016, as a means of pooling together the company’s design and engineering experience.

The brand’s co-founder Joe Gebbia – whose background is also in design – launched the studio with the aim of furthering its values and visions through design-led thinking.

Waterfall joins Samara to head up its creative and operations teams, where he will work alongside Gebbia on the day-to-day running and long-term vision of the studio.

Prior to joining Airbnb, Waterfall has studied and worked in industrial design, as well as in branding, creative direction and advertising.

Poke, Fray, Social Suicide and Deepend

He has co-founded a number of digital studios and other consultancies, including Poke, Fray, Social Suicide and Deepend, which closed down in 2001.

In 2012, Waterfall was hired by technology company Intel as vice president and creative director of Intel Media. He continued in this role after the platform was sold to telecommunications brand Verizon in 2014. Earlier this year, he was appointed by music video company Vevo to lead its rebrand and relaunch.

Waterfall was also awarded the title of Royal Design for Industry (RDI) in 2007, which is the UK’s highest design honour.

Commenting on Waterfall’s appointment, Gebbia says: “We’re excited to welcome Simon to the Samara team. He possesses a brilliant creative mind with proven leadership in world renowned design houses. His industrial design expertise and business acumen will be a valuable asset to the studio.”

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