carlo ratti’s sofa system in collaboration with VITRA generates infinite arrangements
all photographs by mybosswas and michele versaci




XXI triennale international design exhibition: international design firm carlo ratti associate, with the support of swiss furniture company VITRA, have developed ‘lift-bit’, a fully internet-connected sofa. ‘lift-bit’ is on show at milan’s XXI triennale, titled ‘21st century. design after design’, within the ‘stanze. altre filosofie dell’abitare’ (rooms. novel living concepts) exhibition curated by beppe finessi and produced by the salone del mobile.milano from april 2 until september 12, 2016. this modular, electronically reconfigurable furniture system allows it to seamlessly transform into a chair, a lounge room, a bed, and a multitude of other configurations. the prototype system is composed of a series of single, upholstered stools. each is motorized using actuators, allow it to be raised or lowered in just a few seconds.


video courtesy of mybosswas




‘architecture has often been described as a kind of ‘third skin’ – in addition to our own biological one and our clothing. however, for too long it has functioned rather like a corset: a rigid and uncompromising addition to our body,’ explains professor carlo ratti, founder of carlo ratti associate studio and director of the senseable city lab at MIT. lift-bit draws on the potential of internet of things (IoT) technologies to transform our interior landscape, giving form to an endlessly reconfigurable environment. in the future, we could imagine an architecture that adapts to human need, rather than the other way around – a living, tailored space that is molded to its inhabitants’ needs, characters, and desires.’

with just an hand-gesture, the seats can be raised or lowered in just a few seconds




the whole system can be controlled in person, just by hovering a hand in the air over the seat, or through a companion mobile app. the app features both a series of predetermined 3D shapes and a tool to create new combinations. opendot engineered and focused on the interactions for the lift-bit. even when not used for a long time, the system will start shape-shifting on its own to engage users. 

the system can transform into a chair, a lounge room, a bed, etc




‘thanks to the liberating effect of technology, the way we live and work is becoming more flexible,’ says eckart maise, chief design officer of VITRA. ‘we are excited to be present at the ‘rooms‘ exhibition at milan’s triennale, supporting carlo ratti associati in this exploration of innovative ideas for our interiors.’

‘lift-bit’ at milan’s XXI triennale

the seats can be raised to form a chair 

guests to the exhibition can interact with the modular system 

the upholstered seats 

rendering of the ‘lift-bit’ system



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XXI triennale international exhibition: 21st century. design after design
april 2nd – september 12th, 2016


the XXI triennale di milano international exhibition has a vast program of exhibitions, events, competitions, festivals and meetings throughout the city, in venues ranging from la triennale (palazzo della triennale) to the fabbrica del vapore, pirelli hangarbicocca, the politecnico di milano campuses, the IULM campus, MUDEC, the national museum of science and technology ‘leonardo da vinci’, BASE milano, the palazzo della permanente, the pirelli tower, the ex expo site, the museo diocesano, the pirelli foundation, the university of milan, the accademia di belle arti di brera, the triennale expogate through to the villa reale in monza, the historic site of the first international exhibitions. running under the title ’21st century. design after design’, it touches on key questions, such as the new dramatic art of design, which consists mainly in its ability to deal with those anthropological issues that classical modernity has excluded from its brief, such as death, the sacred, eros, destiny, traditions, and history; the issue of gender in design; the impact of globalization on design; the transformations brought about by the dawn of the twenty-first century and the crisis of 2008; the relationship between city and design; the relationship between design and the accessibility of new information technologies; and the relationship between design and craftsmanship.