You wouldn’t think that having your mother along with you and your husband on a weekend trip, let alone in a tiny, 450-square-foot apartment, would be a lot of fun.
But Heidi Grütter, who lives in San Diego, said it couldn’t have worked out better when they stayed together in a Boston Airbnb. “Me, my husband, Jimmy [Kan] and Mom,” she said. “It turned out as perfectly as it could.”
They didn’t sleep in triple bunk beds pushed against the wall, but the couple did sleep in a double bed that literally rolled out of sight in the morning.
“We said, ‘Alexa, ask Ori to close the bed!’ and the bed moved into the wall unit,” Grütter said, or in Ori-speak, into living room mode. Then the living room got bigger.
Ori is the revolutionary new concept in small space living – a robotic furniture system that morphs into a bedroom, office/dressing room or living room at the touch of a keypad or an app voice command. The system enables people to use one room in several ways by moving furniture.
“Why should you waste precious space in a studio apartment with a bed that takes up so much of the room? Ori lets you win back space for your living room when you’re not sleeping,” said Adrian Sanchez, who lives in the Washington area.
He and his fiancee stayed in the same apartment as Grütter, at the Watermark Seaport in Boston, in which an Ori system is installed. Ori, the company, rents this apartment through Airbnb as a pilot to gather feedback about the system from users.
“Having everything all packed away is stylish. When there’s a bed in the room, there’s not much else you can do,” said Lee Dilton-Hill, who lives in Rhode Island and also rented that apartment when she visited Boston.
“For me, the system was intuitive and not overly complicated. I’m tech-savvy, but I think anyone can pick it up easily if they read the instructions,” she said.
“Urbanization is unstoppable. Cities are growing by leaps and bounds, so we better come up with new solutions to make them smarter, because that’s where people work and where they want to live,” said Hasier Larrea, the chief executive and brains behind Ori. “We have to rethink how we fit more people in, and how we organize the spaces they live and work in.”
Today’s younger generations want to live downtown, but that comes with a financial challenge. Either they have a lot of money or they live in a prison cell, he said.
“This is where we come in. We want to change the paradigm to living large in a small footprint. People think square footage and functionality are linearly related, but that’s the old paradigm,” Larrea said.
Text Audrey Hoffer Photography Lisa Cranshaw