Best of the Decade: Airbnb lets you spend the night in Van Gogh's bedroom and other places you thought you couldn't go

Leo Burnett's recreation was one of the innovative experiences made possible through the lodging platform

Published On
Feb 11, 2016

Editor's Pick

Creativity looks back on the brand ideas and campaigns that made the last decade. See the full lineup here

Best of the Decade

During the latter half of the decade, Airbnb was not just a lodging platform—it became a vehicle for innovative brand experiences. Marketers began to leverage the site to promote its own offerings in clever ways. Perhaps the most notable was The Art Institute of Chicago’s recreation of Van Gogh’s bedroom, “Van Gogh Bnb,” an idea conceived out of Leo Burnett that gave people the chance to stay in a real-world reproduction of the artist's bedroom, as depicted in his famous painting. Other surprising tie-ups saw the entire country of Sweden put itself on the site, put consumers in the shoes of a children's hospital patient and invited "Downton Abbey" fans to spend a night at the show’s namesake location.

The Van Gogh effort went on to win the Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness at Cannes in 2017. At the time, jury president Jonathan Mildenhall praised the effort for using creativity to introduce a broader and younger demographic to the Art Institute. It lured 133,000 visitors in incremental attendance, driving $2 million in incremental revenue, Mildenhall said.

Read more about the judging over at

Original Post

You can rent all kinds of places on Airbnb, from treehouses to a bed in the Paris catacombs. And now, art lovers can book a night in a real-life replica of Van Gogh's bedroom.

The Art Institute of Chicago, together with Leo Burnett, created a livable, 3D replica of his "Bedroom in Arles" painting and posted it on Airbnb for $10 a night, promoting its "Van Gogh's Bedrooms" show, which opens Sunday. The Institute is showing the artist's three paintings of his bedroom in Southern France together for the first time in North America.

The listing reads: "This room will make you feel like you're living in a painting. It's decorated in a Post-Impressionist style, reminiscent of Southern France and times gone by. Its furniture, bright colors, and artwork will give you the experience of a lifetime."

The notes from the "host" read "I'm charging $10 for no other reason than that I need to buy paint. However, I will be happy to provide you with tickets to my exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago."

However, you're not quite immersing yourself in 19th-century Arles. The 21st-century version of the bedroom boasts TV, air conditioning and Wi-Fi.