West Elm Goes Gami

Origami that is.  West Elm is a company that I admire on so many levels.  As a lover of Mid-century Modern furnishings, West Elm’s clean lines and sixties aesthetic appeal.  So too does the price point, the on trend colors and their in-house designers that work to put it altogether for you, if you need a nod indicating you’re doing it right – or a whole hand in crafting your next home look.

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Ori on display at West Elm’s Fenway location. 160 Brookline Ave. Boston.

There business model, appears to this outsider, to be pretty pliable.  Not something I necessarily associate with a big corporation. They team.  Teaming is good for business.  It puts the community back into the places these stores are located, and small businesses are very important to our economy, not to mention fighting the good fight against homogeneity.  It feels pretty special when you walk into the store, meet with local Etsy purveyors, select a painting from an artist to go above the sofa you saved your hard earned doe to get, so you could stop watching tv on the floor atop a pillow.  Add to that a signed copy of Erin Gates book, Elements of Style, and you not only have a story to tell friends when you entertain, you’ve personalized it.  That’s the magic of West Elm.

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Ori Interface.

Don’t worry, they seem to produce that dust out back somewhere because they have done it again, albeit, in a very different way.  This collaboration will be short lived like their Esty pop-ups, so you’ll want to forgo one or two of your fav fall activities to visit the Fenway West Elm store, because Ori – short of Origami – Robotic Furniture has arrived, for a limited time (October 30 . 2018) in store.  160 Brookline Avenue . Boston.

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A whole existence in a box.

I’ve written about this MIT Media Lab launched company before – wow that’s a lot of alliteration.  Their tag line:  “One room . One Hundred Ways” is pretty brilliant, but the fact that you can transform your living room into a bedroom, your bedroom into a study, your study into a walk-in closet, by hollering at Amazon’s Alexa, or if you’re old school, by pushing a button, is AMAZING.

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At West Elm . Fenway . Try it for yourself.

Originally only for sale to developers, this limited time offering allows the public – that’s you and me – to get our hands on one.  The price point is a bit higher than the developer deal, but in fairness, they are buying in bulk.  Full size option at $15,500., Queen at $16,000. Not exactly walking around change, but if you haven’t been tracking, waiting, saving, and hoping (harassing the people at Ori to let you buy one) then you can rent one for $300. a month.  Now isn’t that convenient?  Designed to snuggle into a 300 – 600SF space, CEO Hasier Larrea (and team) have created something truly brilliant.

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345 Harrison . Ori would snuggle in there nicely.

Always willing to try something new, I am considering making my way on down to West Elm and ordering one up to be delivered, right under the gun, to 345 Harrison Ave.  a place I am considering for my next home.

Origami: the unfolding culture of tiny living

I like the idea of reinvention, of taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary.  It’s so hopeful, magical…fantastical.  Ori is all that and brains.  As someone that lives in a city and works in the Architecture/Engineering and Construction (A/E/C) Industry,  I am subjected to daily reports of housing shortages, and forums on the need for densification.  Densification does not sound at all sexy, but perhaps with Ori it could be.

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A collaboration between MIT’s Media Lab and Fuseproject, Ori Systems is a powered movable wheel mounted furniture piece.  Kent Larson, who heads MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places Group doesn’t believe our cities are sustainable.  He reports that 90% of the population growth will be in cities, that cities will be responsible for 75% of our global energy use – how can these cities function better, maintain and enhance the quality of our lives.  These are the challenges Kent and his group are working on.  Ori is part of that.

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Larson and Fuseproject are not only imaging the democratization of luxury housing in Ori, but they are conceiving of ways to make it highly personalized.  Dining, dancing, working, sleeping, exercising, relaxing and/or entertaining all in one small 250 – 300SF space.  Possible.  Increased sunlight, colored mood lighting, bedroom, expanded bathroom – fold, tuck, slide, and glide into place, just like the ancient paper folding art of Origami from which Ori takes its name.  A touch of a button on Ori’s control panel and the mobile system transforms at your command. Exhausted after a long day, and want to drop into bed the moment you walk through your door, open the App, and abracadabra, your full or queen bed appears from it’s compact hiding place, and awaits your arrival.

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Available to developers creating micro unit housing for about $10,000 a system, Ori will make its debut in Boston, Washington DC, and Seattle this summer.  Living small, as I have always believed, can be luxe.  Tiny need not a cramped source of shame, and desire for something more.  Tiny can be the envy of all when it is clever, cool, and stylish.  Be ORIginal . live your way.