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Ikea is introducing robotic furniture for small spaces

A collaboration with startup Ori

small space furniture unit Courtesy Ikea

The grim reality of apartment living today is that rents are rising and spaces are shrinking. A new high-tech product from Ikea, unveiled at the company’s annual Democratic Design Days showcase this week, might make the squeeze more bearable: Rognan, a robotic furniture unit that includes a bed, sofa, storage, and desk.

“Cities are booming and at the same time living spaces are shrinking. That’s why Ikea is exploring flexible and innovative solutions that empower people to have big dreams for small homes,” the company said in a news release.

Rognan, a new collaboration between Ikea and Ori, includes an entire apartment’s worth of furniture in a single unit.
Courtesy Ikea

The product is a collaboration with Ori, a startup that began as an MIT Media Lab project. Ori worked with Yves Behar to design its first product, a multi-functional shape-shifting furniture unit billed as an apartment in a box. Ori has a small collection of transformable furniture, but most are luxury goods. Its Studio Suite, which is a souped-up version of Rognan, starts at $18,990. The upcoming product from Ikea scales Ori’s design for the mass market.

Rognan is based on the dimensions of Ikea’s Platsa modular storage system. One side has a built-in sofa and storage shelves. The other side has cabinets and a pull-out desk. A two-person bed pulls out from the bottom, like a trundle. The system is designed to move from one side of a room to the other via a push-button activated motorized system.

The multi-functional, shape-shifting unit is designed for tiny apartments.
Courtesy Ikea

“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,” Seana Strawn, Product developer for new innovations at IKEA of Sweden, said in the statement. “Instead of making furniture smaller, we transform furniture to the function that 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.”

Rognan will go on sale first in Japan and Hong Kong in 2020. Stay tuned.