With more and more people moving to increasingly expensive cities, the average square footage of urban living spaces has shrunk significantly in recent years. This lack of space often makes it difficult to decorate smaller homes with traditional furnishings. To address this problem, a team from MIT Media Lab has designed an innovative furniture system call Ori, which launched in three US cities this summer.
The following are things you should know about Ori and how it is changing the world of interior design:
What is Ori?
Ori is a type of “robo-furniture” that lets people easily configure their living areas to maximize their use of space. The collection consists of modular and transformable system that incorporates a number of furniture pieces. Ori’s technology allows owners to nearly double the size of their living area by hiding away items when not in use and moving walls with a tap of a finger.
Why is it named Ori?
Because Ori contains elements that fold, its creators chose a name inspired by the term origami, which refers to the Japanese art of folding paper.
Who was involved with its development?
Researcher Kent Larson spearheaded the project at the MIT Media Lab as part of CityHome research, which focuses on using technology to improve the livability of small spaces. He and his team partnered with designer Yves Behar to give the robotic prototype a pleasing aesthetic that would appeal to a wide range of customers. Behar also leveraged his expertise to develop branding for the system and design the customizable “skins” that cover the robotics.
What features does Ori offer?
The foundation of the system is a wall-like unit that is built over a motorized frame. Within Ori are elements that serve as a desk, extra living room space, a bookshelf, a couch, and a bed, which retracts or extends horizontally from the bottom of the unit with the push a button on a touch-sensitive control panel. Urban dwellers can use the control panel, which lights up when people come near, to reveal and hide most of the furnishings that people need to work and live.
How many versions are available?
Presently, the Ori collection contains two models: a queen version and a full version. The full-sized system includes a retractable bed and closet storage and acts as a fully functional bedroom. The closet also doubles as office storage and pairs well with the desk that extends out to fit a laptop and other office accessories. To complete the living space, Ori contains a media console and credenza.
Similar to the full-sized system, the queen-sized model accommodates a queen bed and can be converted to include a walk-in closet. Customers can also use the closet as an office. Other welcome features include extra storage space and a couch.
Will there be an app?
Yes. The accompanying app makes it possible for users to communicate with the unit when away. This remote accessibility is perfect for instances when people have limited time and can’t use the control panel, thus making it possible for owners to configure their unit to their preference, so that when they arrive home, their space is staged appropriately.
Who benefits from the product?
Ori targets young professionals, who must live in the city to accommodate their jobs, as well as individuals who choose to make their residences in micro-living spaces. The apartments of this demographic are much smaller and sometimes referred to as micro-apartments for their limited square footage. Because of Ori’s technological advances, these people will be able to enjoy a functional work environment as well as a beautiful home.
When will Ori be available to the public?
This summer, Ori will launch in three cities: Seattle, Boston, and Washington, DC. Its initial release will focus on working directly with commercial property owners and multifamily real estate developers. Long term, Ori’s founder plans to work with businesses outside of the launch cities and eventually offer the product directly to consumers.
Where can one learn more about Ori?
To learn more about Ori or to inquire about purchasing, visit www.orisystems.com. Real estate developers and building owners can submit an application of interest through the website. In addition, consumers can sign up to receive news on the product. People can send all other inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.