Imagine a piece of furniture you can remotely reconfigure with an app. Imagine a sofa that reacts and autonomously adjusts its shape when you get close to it. Imagine a seating system that can change form in an infinite number of ways – and seamlessly turn into a bed, a chaise lounge, a group of armchairs or a playground for kids. All of this is Lift-Bit – a project designed by Carlo Ratti Associati together with Opendot fab lab that was unveiled during 2017 Milan Design Week.
Paying homage to radical British architect Cedric Price’s 1970s “Generator Project,” Lift-Bit is a modular, digitally reconfigurable furniture system that allows a sofa to turn into an almost endless set of configurations.
The system involves a collection of individual, upholstered stools that can be easily assembled together. The height of each stool can be altered in seconds – simply by waving a hand a few centimeters over the fabric or remotely through the use of Lift-Bit’s mobile app, thanks to distributed sensors and intelligence.
The Lift-Bit app, sustained by a mesh networking system, includes both a series of predetermined three-dimensional shapes and a tool to invent dynamic combinations. By matching these technological elements with an elegant design, Lift-Bit makes it possible to reconfigure any home or office setting, ushering in a new vision of interior design.
“Lift-Bit draws on the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to transform our interior landscape, giving form to an endlessly reconfigurable environment,” says Professor Carlo Ratti, founder of Carlo Ratti Associati studio and Director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): “In the future, we could imagine an architecture that adapts to human needs, rather than the other way around – a living, tailored space that is molded to its inhabitants’ needs, characters and desires.”
“Lift-Bit gives people the possibility to actively contribute to the design of their own space. It is a participatory design, which never ceases to surprise you, and it surely cannot bore you,” says Alessandro Masserdotti, co-founder of Opendot, the Milan-based fab lab which contributed to the engineering of Lift-Bit.
An early version of Lift-Bit, developed with the support of the Swiss manufacturer Vitra, was exhibited in Spring 2016 at the “Rooms. Novel Living Concepts” exhibition organized by Salone del Mobile Milano for the 21st Milan Triennale. Since then, Lift-Bit has gained international praise – being exhibited at Linz’s Ars Electronica festival and at Weil am Rhein’s Vitra Design Museum (“Hello, Robot” exhibition, until May 2017). Lift-Bit was also a finalist in the FastCo Innovation by Design Award 2016.
More information about Lift-Bit (including pre-order details) are available at lift-bit.com
Lift-Bit is a project by Carlo Ratti Associati with Opendot
Carlo Ratti Associati team: Carlo Ratti, Saverio Panata, Andrea Cassi, Andrea Galli, Damiano Gui, Pietro Leoni
Opendot team: Alessandro Masserdotti, Fabrizio Pignoloni, Tiziano Berti, Daniele Ciminieri, Vittorio Cuculo,
Photos by: Daniele Iodice
Special thanks to Creative Cables