MIT Media Lab and Yves Béhar Maximize Minimal Space With Robotic Furniture

07.22.16 | By
MIT Media Lab and Yves Béhar Maximize Minimal Space With Robotic Furniture

The influx of young professionals into competitive markets like San Francisco, London, Seattle, New York City, and Los Angeles has led to a dearth of available housing accompanied with increasingly prohibitively expensive rents. Even recognizing this need for increased housing, many cities are hitting up against the wall of available space for development. MIT Media Lab and Yves Béhar propose a technological+architectural solution: micro apartments built around robotic modular furniture systems that can automatically reconfigure a room to maximize space at the touch of a button or an app.

Ori is comprised of a modular all-in-one furniture tower containing a bed, closet, workspace, couch, and shelving. Like a Swiss Army knife, the unit can transform from a bedroom into a more spacious living room and into a home office by changing the configuration of each furniture component.



All the heavy lifting is done by a combination of actuators connected to electronics and software developed by a team at the MIT Media Lab dedicated to “creating hyper-efficient, technology-enabled spaces that can help make living more affordable, productive, enjoyable, and creative for urban dwellers.” Béhar and his San Francisco studio Fuseproject were charged with designing an aesthetic and operable design to hide away the technology inside the furniture module.




In essence Ori is multi-functional furnishing solution that recognizes negative space and plays an important role in creating livable longterm housing, while also providing many of the amenities urban dwellers most desire. Ori systems will be incorporated into developments in Boston, Washington DC, and Seattle starting this summer.

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at