More and more people are opting to live in cities. The UN estimates that 68 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. That means as a species, we’re going to have to learn how to live with less space.
How do you make less space feel like more? Robotic furniture could be the answer.
Boston-based startup Ori has developed furniture that can move and transform in order to provide different functions with a minimal footprint. For example, its Pocket Closet may look like a normal set of shelves, but it opens up at the tap of a button to become a walk-in closet — it also has space for a TV, and a cabinet that can pull out to reveal a desk.
Meanwhile, the Ori Studio Suite provides space for a bed, media console, storage, walk-in closet, shelving and dining table.
On Thursday, Ori announced that it raised a $20 million Series B. Sidewalk Labs (which is owned by Google parent company, Alphabet) and Ikea franchisee Ingka group both participated in the funding round.
Ori has previously partnered with Ikea to create its Rognan line of robotic furniture.
“At Ori we see interior space differently; we’re challenging the centuries-old view that the functionality is linearly related to the amount of available physical space,” Hasier Larrea, founder and CEO of Ori, said in a statement. “It is so energizing for us to have the opportunity to partner and collaborate with investors who similarly are rethinking how urban centers should be built and who are working at the building, neighborhood and city scale.”
Ori says that the new funding will help the company partner with architects and builders to design urban housing that incorporates Ori's technology.