Concept

Imagine a sofa that reacts and autonomously adjust its shape when you get close to it. Imagine a piece of furniture you can remotely reconfigure with an app. Imagine a seating system that can change form in infinite numbers of ways — and seamlessly turn into a bed, a chaise longue, 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, unveiled at Milan Design Week 2017, at Opendot space (via Tertulliano 70, Milan, Italy).

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 a chair, a bed, a lounge room, and 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, independent of the other stools. Distributed sensors and intelligence allow the height to double or (halve) in seconds, simply by waving a hand a few centimeters over the fabric.

Development

Unveiled as a prototype at the Milan Triennale in 2016, Lift-Bit has been officially presented in a ready-for-production version, featuring sleek new legs in birch wood, at Opendot space in April 2017. For the first time ever, visitors will be able to control Lift-Bit directly, shifting the individual stools’ height in any desired configuration – either with a hand gesture, or remotely through the use of Lift-Bit’s mobile app.

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. Furthermore, the seats’ soft texture embeds a capacitive control system, allowing each stool to sense the presence of a person’s hand close to it and start moving accordingly. By matching these technological elements with an elegant design, Lift-Bit makes it possible to reconfigure any or home or office setting, ushering in a new vision of interior design.

Credits

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, Jordi Garreta. Special thanks to Creative Cables