Recliners can push back to go from chairs to a more supine seat, and pull-out sofas become beds. Having furniture with more than one function is nothing new, but using your app to control the changes could be the not-too-distant future. In fact, there will be an “Internet of Things” sofa on display at Milan Design Week.
The Lift-Bit is an app-controlled couch that was created by a collaboration between international design firm Carlo Ratti Associati and Swiss furniture company Vitra. “Lift-Bit is a modular, digitally-reconfigurable furniture system that allows a sofa to seamlessly turn into a chair, a chaise longue, a bed, a lounge room, and a myriad of other configurations,” according to a press release about the prototype.
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The piece of furniture is made up of several upholstered stools that are motorized and can raise twice as high or drop to half the original height. If you’re standing in front of the Lift-Bit, you can control it by dangling your hand over individual stools, or choose from a list of pre-created configurations. The app would also let users make their own crazy designs. If the couch has been stationary for too long, it will start to rearrange itself, perhaps to make its shape more inviting to weary bones.
“Lift-Bit draws on the potential of Internet of Things technologies to transform our interior landscape, giving form to an endlessly reconfigurable environment,” said Professor Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a statement. “In the future, we could imagine an architecture that adapts to human need, rather than the other way around: a living, tailored space that is molded to its inhabitants’ needs, characters, and desires.”
Certain shapes would require fewer stools, but a room packed with them could take on the landscape of the Grand Canyon, Ratti imagines, were it ever to go to market. But if your seat can adjust to your preferences and settings when you unlock your car, can something similar in the living room be far behind?
Lift-Bit is a project by Carlo Ratti Associati (www.lift-bit.com), developed with the support of Vitra for the “ROOMS. Novel living concepts” exhibition organized by Salone del Mobile.Milano within the framework of the XXI Triennale. Engineering and interaction design by Opendot.