With shapeshifting furniture, 'Niche' aims to prove people can still live large in smaller footprint

The Jetsons might have been onto something decades ago with their futuristic, do-it-all furniture. But in 2021, the Murphy bed looks quite different, and you’ll be able to find it at a local Tampa apartment in a few years.

"Niche," a new apartment complex set to open in North Hyde Park in 2023 will feature micro-units, maximized by shapeshifting furniture.

"This about a whole new world, where furniture has superpowers," said Hasier Larrea, the CEO of Ori, which developed the technology the developers are using.

During a demonstration over Zoom with FOX 13, Larrea showed how the moving unit works.

Courtesy Wingspan Development Group

"Right now, we are in a living room position, which means the whole space is an open space, it’s a living room," he said. "I will press the closet button, and the system will transform, to basically give me a walk-in closet."

The retractable bed, closet and dining room table will move by the push of a button, or through your smartphone. The technology was developed five years ago by engineers at MIT, and since has been incorporated in apartments across the country.

The name, Ori, stems from Origami, the Japanese art of folding. And that’s just what it does.

Larrea demonstrated how a closet is also a desk space, but also a bed.

"What if you can have the experience of a walk-in closet, just when you need it? I can access my clothes, et cetera and then when I’m done with my closet I can collapse it."

The bed can be a full-size or queen size in Niche’s Ori unit.

Courtesy Wingspan Development Group

Developers Wingspan Development Group and ABC Capital Corp. say the studios will range from 350 to 400 square feet, and pricing should start just under $1,000/month.

That could change by the time they open in 2023, but here’s a comparison of how much a studio costs around "Niche’s" location, as of this publishing:

  • Novel Apartments in Midtown – $2,155 (558 Sq Feet)
  • Manor Riverwalk - $2,200 (570 Sq Feet)
  • Channel Club - $2,170 (511 Sq Feet)
  • Anchor Riverwalk - $1,700 (528 Sq Feet)

"At the end of the day, what they’re getting is a studio that’s feeling and acting like one bedroom, at the price that’s closer to a studio," Larrea added.