A startup based out of Boston wants to make micro-living a little more luxurious.
Ori— named for the Japanese art of origami — makes a furniture system that transforms small spaces for sleeping, entertaining, and working. The high-tech armoir holds a full- or queen-sized bed, closet, desk, media center, and additional storage, and slides on mechanized rails to reveal different parts of the system. Apartment-dwellers can make their bedroom appear with the push of a button, or push the whole system to the wall to create space for guests.
In May, the company partnered with 13 real-estate developers in 10 cities, including Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Vancouver, to bring the Ori system to select studio apartments as part of a pilot program. It expects to install 1,200 units across North America through 2018.
Ori founder and CEO Hasier Larrea told Business Insider the shape-shifting furniture system aims to provide the experience of luxury when people don't have the luxury of size.
During a demo in a San Francisco studio apartment, Larrea called to an Amazon Echo device and asked it to get his bedroom ready. The system glided five feet out from the wall, exposing a full-sized bed underneath. With a tap on the unit's touch interface, the bed slid into storage and created the illusion of a walk-in closet between the wall and the unit.
It uses about one-tenth the electricity of a hair blow dryer, according to Larrea. And if the power goes out, the system can be moved manually (though it might be a two-person job).
The unit is clunky, but versatile. The shelving is made from plywood, rather than the cheap foam board you find in IKEA products. It has simple, modern finishes — an indication of Ori's partnership with industrial design firm Fuseproject, which helped create the look.
Larrea hopes to someday license the technology to architects so they can make the system their own. He envisions Ori products in dormitories, offices, and hospitals.
"The systems and robotics that we're building prove that a 300-square-foot apartment could have the functionality of an apartment twice the size," Larrea said.
Check out the Ori furniture system in action in the video below.