The era of robotic furniture is upon us, or it will be in 2020, if IKEA's partnership with Ori to bring robotic furniture to the market pans out as planned. Hong Kong and Japan's tiny apartment spaces will be the first intended targets for pieces that can convert from storage and seating areas into beds and closets (and back again), though the ultimate goal is to see the furniture go around the world.
The new line will be based on the company’s PLATSA storage unit, and called ROGNAN.
“We have been working with developing small space living solutions for a long time, and we know that some of the biggest challenges in peoples’ homes are storage and finding the place to do all the activities that you’d want to do in your home,” said Seana Strawn, product developer for new innovations at IKEA of Sweden, in a statement. “This is especially the case in big cities where people have to make compromises in the functions of their homes. We wanted to change that.”
Ori Living, the firm that is partnering with IKEA to build the new line, said building better living situations in small spaces is a shared passion of both firms.
“People across the U.S. have been living large in a small footprint with Ori’s robotic interiors since we introduced our first commercial product two years ago. At about the same time, we began working with IKEA to bring robotic furniture to the world,” said Ori Chief Executive Hasier Larrea. “We share IKEA’s passion to enable people to make the most of their living spaces, and look forward to helping realize this as we continue to develop living spaces for the next generation.”
Ori launched in 2015 as a way to reduce the footprint of living spaces in urban environments. It grew out of research done by Larrea and an MIT professor at MIT's famed Media Lab.