Over the last 25 years, I have never lived in a space larger than 1500 square feet. For my wife and I smaller has always been better. I know that we are going against the grain since the average size of a house in America has steadily grown from 1800 square feet in the mid-1960’s to just under 3000 in the 2010’s. The reality is though, not everyone is can afford to, or wants to live in a McMansion. World-wide the average size of a living space is between 1000 and 1500 square feet, and in larger cities much smaller at 500 to 800 square feet. That means less room for furniture and furniture that is designed to function with multiple uses, or in ways that save space. This is where those clever students at MIT and designer Yves Béhar come in.
A team of MIT engineers have partnered with designer Yves Béhar to develop the ORI system of robotic furniture system for smaller/micro apartments that transform at the touch of a button or via a smartphone app. The Ori system is a compact module that incorporates a bed and a closet on one side, and a home office and an entertainment suite on the other expanding and contracting as needed to give up much-needed space. (This would have been so useful in our 850 square foot loft) On one side the bed is hidden, sliding under the bottom of the unit beneath a closet, couch, and office to maximize space. When activated, the unit moves in or out to become a bedroom or a more generous living room. One side of the unit hosts a full closet, but also contains a desk for a home office. The other side of the unit holds a media center for entertaining. Each room can be preset for Each room can be preset for your specific needs so that one touch on the physical interface or on the smartphone app will morph the room.
Ori is more than functionality. Units can be customized with a variety of finishes, materials, and colors that truly let you design your space. And the functionality means a small space can be transformed into a multi-functional home in just seconds. Beyond small apartments and loft spaces, I could see this being used in smaller vacation homes, guest houses, hotels and more.
Leave it to the Italians to come up with a Bluetooth speaker named after a famous opera star that looks like a piece of art. Caruso designed by New Black is a Bluetooth 4.0 enabled speaker that just screams “Look at me”. Clean, contemporary, fun, and unfortunately pricey. For your money though, you get a hand made wood cabinet and ceramic horn. Each piece is made to orderby Italian masters in Meolo (Venice) which also helps to explain the $2700.00 price tag. As Bluetooth speakers go the specs are pretty solid. Caruso has a frequency response rate of 50-19 khz, and pushes out 75 watts of blazing power to help make all the digital files stored on your phone or computer sound amazing. The cabinet comes in lacquered wood finishes in 6 different shades. The ceramic horn in 6 contrasting shades that you can mix and match with the wood to your hearts content. I simply love the look of it. Finally someone is making a speaker that doesn’t look like the cheap plastic crap you see everywhere these days. Plus it has enough power to fill your space and then some.
At the end of the month the NY Now show takes place at Jacob Javits center. To gear up for it a ton of manufacturers are starting to send out emails asking to stop by their booths and check out new products, and designs for 2016. Pablo design is no exception to this. this morning I found an email waiting for me introducing 4 new products that I wish I would be in New York to see in person. Unfortunately I won’t. One of those products is the new UMA Sound Lantern. A portable lamp with a bluetooth speaker that actually looks pretty intriguing. Another product that is not a new release, yet still stunning is the “Contour Table”.
Contour Table is really a lamp, don’t let the name fool you. It is a minimalist lamp that is designed in many ways to showcase objects framing them, and a case of extruded aluminum, and wood. Contour’s elegant open frame is enhanced by warm LED illumination from the top of the slender extruded aluminum structure. The minimalist design has been refined to the bare essentials, creating a rich interior space for your personal belongings while providing an unobstructed view of its surroundings. The interior space provides an inviting resting place for your books, precious objects, or for charging your mobile devices with its integrated USB port.
This is another object I’d love to see in person at Pablo’s booth at the end of the month. I just need to figure out a way to get there in 2 weeks.
This morning while going through my weekly design reading list I came across some work by artist and designer Marcin Rusak. There is something so refreshing about the Art Deco aesthetic that he has applied to his Flora collection. The line of of furniture, feels like it could have been made in the 1920’s and at the same time feels fresh and unique, in part do to the choice of materials used. Rusak’s new line is constructed in part by using real flowers that have been encased in resin to form the primary sections of each piece. Accented with a muted brushed brass, the line takes on a new, yet vintage feel. The Flora collection features hand made brass structures with blown glass, black resin, and dried flowers. The flowers are cast in the resin, which over time will shrink slightly allowing small slivers of light to pass beside them.