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.
I’m not a golfer. I don’t own clubs and I can’t even remember the last time I was on the fairway or even at a driving range. It doesn’t mean I don’t like the game, it just isn’t in the forefront of things I do. If you are a golfer “GAME”, which has managed to raise 127,000 in funding on indigogo is probably something you are going to want.
GAME is a dynamically connected product that tracks, maps and records your round of golf automatically logging each stat. The wearable device connects to your smart phone or computer allowing you to review the entire game and improve skills. In addition it is socially aware allowing you to share your results with social network giants like Facebook and Twitter. GAME records every club you use, every swing you make, and calculates the key stats for each including your scoring, the number of putts, greens in regulation, driving accuracy and more.
The device is the brainchild of Galway, Ireland, John McGuire and a small team of engineers. The physical design of the product is by Yves Behar which gets extra points from me.
Herman Miller has kicked off it’s “Why Design” series again with a short film featuring Yves Behar. If you’re a designer, you know who this is, if you aren’t a designer, you should know who this is. Anyway The film below is the first is the series which will include Don Chadwick, and Ayse Birsel in the near future. The first short has some really nice production values and editing with a narrative that highlights Behar’s entrepreneurial spirit, his views on sustainability and design as he compares surfing to improvisational jazz. It’s only a couple of minutes long. Take a break and give it a look.
When I first saw Yves Behar’s Sayl chair designed for Herman Miller, I fell in love with it. And after, spending some time sitting in it, I was blown away by the comfort that good design and thoughtful engineering provides.
The chair was originally inspired by the engineering of the Golden Gate suspension bridge, and that inspiration led Behar to design the Sayl chair for maximum support and flexibility while using a minimal amount of materials. Rather than using a material that a wrap around frame would require, Behar used a center vertical support with a patterned mesh, which created a 3-D intelligent back that has different degrees of tension for each part of your back. This meant that Behar used less material, which cost less, and still remained extremely comfortable.In addition the Sayl chair is 93% recyclable and is certified Cradle to Cradle Silver. This elegant solution is a wonderful example of the beauty that can come from designing for less.
And on top of it all, it is a fun experience designing your own Sayl chair. You can choose from different colors for the frame, and different types of fabrics and chair types. I designed my chair 5 different times (with various bold colors), before finally settling on classic gray and black.
For more information, Herman Miller has a wonderful website that talks about the design process with a great series of images, and videos here.