Ori: Robotic Furniture to Stretch Small Spaces

Is this the future of apartments?

Klara Zietlow
4 min readDec 15, 2020

You know those cute tiny houses you see on Instagram? Or the adorable little micro-apartments all around Tokyo?

They’re a great idea…until you’re stuck in one 24 hours a day during a global pandemic.

That’s when this dream:

Small A-Frame house in the woods
Don’t you want to live in this cutie? (Unsplash)

Becomes a nightmare:

A tiny apartment with only enough room to lay down
An apartment for rent in Tokyo just under five square meters (54 square feet)! (SoraNews 24)

But unfortunately, most people who live in these tiny homes and apartments have no choice. Due to rising real estate prices and a lack of space in big cities, people are forced to shell out big bucks even for small spaces.

Houses today are getting smaller and smaller with the average number of bedrooms in a UK house dropping from 3.53 to 2.95 in the past 40 years.

Apartments in prime locations are in such high demand that people will put up with tight quarters as long as their commute to work is short. Many peoples’ justification for living in micro-apartments is that they’re only home when they’re sleeping, but due to the pandemic that’s no longer the case.

Very cramped Seattle apartment
And let me remind you, that’s where you spend all of your time. (CBS)

Some of these people wake up everyday to a house with only enough room to stand, let alone have guests over. The little furniture they can fit inside takes up the majority of their space and they certainly can’t fit unnecessary things like a Christmas tree or treadmill.

If only there was a clever robotic furniture company to fix this problem… 😉

Oh wait, there is.

Enter Ori

How cool is this?! It’s like having 5x the amount of space!

Founded in 2015 by Hasier Larrea, Ivan Fernandez de Casadevante, and Carlos Rubio, Ori (short for Origami) is on a mission to transform the future of living spaces through minimalistic robotic furniture.

By combining multiple features of homes that would otherwise be separate, they are able to provide more furniture in less space.

In addition, by giving furniture the ability to move, customers can grow and shrink the size of their rooms just with the click of a button.

Currently, they offer 5 products in 15+ different cities: the Cloud Bed, Pocket Closet, Studio Suite, Studio Suite Slim, and Pocket Office.

Ori’s Studio Suite with two people using it at once
The Studio Suite acts as a bed, desk, and shelving and is totally retractable when not in use! (Springwise)


Ori’s units can be controlled through 3 ways:

  • Ori Square: a small pad with intuitive buttons attached to the side of the unit
  • Ori app: similar buttons to Ori Square, just on your phone and remote controlled
  • Google Home/Amazon Alexa: if you connect your home devices, you can control the movement of your furniture with your voice


The furniture is assembled on site by trained staff who can completely install it in your home over less than a day. All homes tall enough for the selected unit with smooth, level floors are compatible.

The furniture moves along a track typically installed along a wall on either side of the room. It’s plugged into a standard power outlet too so there’s no need for an extra bulky power source.

Lastly, none of the furniture is permanent so can be taken apart and reassembled in a different apartment if you move. It won’t leave any damage to the old space either so renters don’t need to worry about angry landlords.


If you’re worried about getting squished by huge moving furniture, Ori has got your back.

Their units’ proprietary object protection feature will automatically stop the furniture from moving if it faces 20 lbs. of resistance (equivalent to the force of 2 fingers).

In addition, if the power goes out the pieces automatically convert to “manual mode” and can be moved by a simple push or pull.

The Vision

Apartment complexes during the night
What if everyone could live comfortably, even on a low budget? (Unsplash)

Ori is working towards a future where we don’t have to just accept the compromises of urban living. We can have something better.

Advances in technology are key to unlocking a more affordable, accessible, and sustainable urban future. By creating pieces that effortlessly adapt to the user’s needs on demand, anyone can live luxuriously no matter how modest their living space is.


  • People who want to live in prime urban locations must compromise with high prices and small spaces
  • Furniture takes up lots of room and can make spaces feel even smaller
  • By combining multiple pieces of furniture into one and giving them mobility, Ori is able to create compact, adaptable units fit for everyone’s individual needs

Hey! Before you go, I’m a 13 y/o innovator passionate about new discoveries and inventions popping up around this great, wonderful planet. That’s why I write articles about all sorts of interesting topics. Here on Medium, I would love it if you clapped this, left a comment, or gave me a follow. I’d also love to connect on LinkedIn or by email (klaradzietlow@gmail.com). Subscribe to my monthly newsletter here.



Klara Zietlow

Passionate about the future of food and the environment. Likes animals too :)