Robotic Furniture

Ikea and Ori Living are teaming up to produce a range of robotic furniture which is set to revolutionise life for city dwellers by making small homes far more flexible and comfortable

It has been well established that UK living spaces are getting smaller – according to LABC Warranty, homes built from 2010 onwards are over 4sqm smaller than the ones built before then.

But with more people flocking to cities and urbanisation now a global problem, dwellings all over the world are under pressure when it comes to the number of people in them versus the available space.

Furniture designers have come up with all sorts of creative responses to this issue, and most of them involve working to smaller dimensions and enabling products to perform multiple functions.

But there is another way.

Ikea has partnered with Boston-based robotics company Ori Living to find an alternative that will allow people to enjoy the full scale and functionality of their products, while living in a compact space.

Rognan is a robotic furniture system that is intended to allow people to enjoy their small environments in the same way they would if they lived in a larger home. The furniture itself is not smaller, but it can adapt to suit the homeowner’s needs.

 

The system consists of a large storage unit on wheels that can be controlled by a touchpad. It incorporates a bed that can be rolled away under storage and pulled out when needed, a sofa that can also double as a guest bed, and a wardrobe.

When required the unit can slide across a small room to divide it into two living spaces, or move to either side to create a single larger one. By moving the unit to the centre or either side of the area it can transform the space into a bedroom, a walk-in closet, workspace or a living room, depending on what is required at that particular moment, and effectively double a living space.

Giving it extra flexibility is Ikea’s Platsa modular storage solution, and the system also works with its Tradfri cabinets and wardrobe smart lighting.

“With Rognan, small space living customers will no longer have to compromise their needs, dreams or comfort in order to achieve a multi-functional living environment,” said Seana Strawn, product developer for new innovations at Ikea of Sweden. “The customer gets eight extra square metres of living space. Instead of making the furniture smaller, we transform the furniture to the function you need at that time. When you sleep, you do not need your sofa. When you use your wardrobe, you do not need your bed.”

This kind of approach to designing furniture gives city dwellers far greater comfort and flexibility. As well as the Studio Suite, which is a similar concept to Rognan, Ori Living has produced the Pocket Closet that expands to reveal storage and contracts back out of the living space when no longer needed. It is also launching the Cloud Bed, which elevates off the floor to retract into a ceiling platform when no longer needed, imminently.

Rognan is set to launch in Hong Kong and Japan from early next year.

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