Space-saving murphy furniture designed by a mechanical engineer

Having lived my whole adult life in small, crowded spaces, I'm extremely excited to see these exceedingly well-designed space-saving tables, desks, shelves and beds, which, for a change, don't require you to move everything out of the way before using them, or require a heroic act of Greco-Roman wrestling to make them work.

Amazing Italian Designed Space Saving Furniture (via Making Light)


  1. I don’t think it’s fair to simplify it to the point of “designed by a mechanical engineer.” In fact, the video states that these designs are the result of regular collaborations between a furniture designer, a mechanical engineer, and a manufacturer. Yay for multi-disciplinary collaborations!

    Wanted to say ERTW, but CRTW seems more appropriate.

  2. It’s beautiful, wonderful, but when I lived in a 180 square foot apartment, I could barely afford my rent, much less designer furniture.

  3. Oooohhh..WANT!!
    This is the coolest line of furniture I’ve seen in forever. I’m sure it’s waaaay out of my budget- as well as the budget of a lot of folks who live in small spaces (when a website says “email for quote” I’ve found it usually translates to “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”).
    As a kid, I would have loves the bunk beds. And that couch! It’s like an upholstered transformer!!

    1. I tend to think along the same lines as you and sswaan. If I could afford this furniture, I could probably afford a bigger place. But I do agree the stuff looks great, color schemes not withstanding.

  4. I wonder if I’m the only one who’s noticed the potential for fun
    punctuating the wonderful mish-mash of participles, adjectives
    and nouns in apposition: Amazing Italian Designed Space Saving

    Some examples:

    “Amazing! Italian designed space-saving furniture.”
    (Presumably, whoever says this doesn’t have a very high opinion of

    “Amazing Italian designed space-saving furniture.”
    (Gotta love that amazing Italian, whoever he is.)

    “Amazing Italian designed space, saving furniture.”
    (Well, I suppose if the amazing Italian designed a room small
    enough, it might save furniture. Or at least save on buying it. Or
    is there a deeper story here? Was furniture an endangered species
    until our amazing Italian came along and designed space, thus
    somehow saving furniture from extinction?)

    “Amazing Italian designed space-saving: furniture.”
    (Luigi’s at it again. He’s invented something called space-saving,
    and apparently the key to it is furniture.)

  5. This seems like little tables becoming slightly bigger tables, and small desks sliding away (in the most over-engineered fashion) to make room for beds. At one point the wall folds down over a couch to reveal a bed, presumably because the design team couldn’t get their hands on a *real* bed-couch. I mean, I appreciate the smoothness of the motion, but if you already moved a chair out of the way, why not just move another one-foot-deep desk? This reminds me of the expansion zipper on luggage that lets you expand your luggage from 1 foot deep to 1 foot 1/2 inches deep.

  6. “Afford” it? Make it! What maker doesn’t find this inspiring as hell? (Granted, making it from scratch would cost a small fortune, but.. heck! Inspiring!)

  7. Truly amazing furniture design and engineering. I’m sure it’s worth every single penny but it troubles me that the website for the furniture doesn’t list any prices. It’s probably out of the price range of most people.

    1. They are pretty pricy: I paid €3,800 for one of the bookcase/double beds (they’re made by Clei) a couple of years ago, and that was in Italy, so you can expect a hefty mark-up on the other side of the Atlantic.

  8. Those who say that this wouldn’t be affordable to people who can’t afford a big place, that depends largely on the premium you’re paying for space. In Phoenix, big apartments are cheap, and even small apartments are big. I think the smallest one I’ve ever lived in was a 500 square foot one-bedroom. I’m paying $800 a month for a two-bedroom apartment now, in a centrally located neighborhood in south Scottsdale.

    But in many cities, $800 a month won’t get me that far. In those cities, I might pay twice as much for a bed that turns into a bookshelf, or a coffee table that can magically double in size.

  9. I hear a lot of people in the thread wondering how affordable it is compared to the flat pack stuff you’d get at IKEA if your budget was this tight.

    I say it depends on what premium the market is putting on space. I pay $800 a month for a centrally located two bedroom apartment. It’s in an old building but it’s got plenty of room. But in other cities, $800 would get me a phone booth, and suddenly a bookshelf that turns into a bed is worth quite a bit more than a bookshelf and a bed.

  10. Chaise Lounge?

    Reminds me of a Bill Bryson bit, where he remembers his father walking around with a piece of paper with “Chaise Longue” on it, and all the neighbours being surprised and excited to find out it’s not pronounced Lounge.

  11. This really inspires me but what’s up with all the beds. Wouldn’t mind seeing some of the furniture transforming into something else than beds.

    This also reminded me of one of my favorite Gene Kelly movies. One of the early scenes also has space-saving furniture or should I say space-saving decor =) (clip link below)

    1. I guess this sort of design concentrates on beds because they tend to lay unused for 2/3 of the time and only need to be “operated” twice per day. They are also very bulky, so prime target for optimization.

      Having lived in a very small flat with a convertible sofabed and other “transformer” furniture, my problems were always:
      1 – you have to make your bed perfectly every day. No room for slack, or it will show. A bigger pillow won’t fit, etc etc.
      2 – you are constantly moving things back and forth. I see they are trying to reduce this recently, with desks that don’t disappear etc, but still: if you have something fragile or slightly unstable, would you leave it on a desk that has to be moved?
      3 – Eventually a few things will become “exceptions” and stay “open” or “closed” for a few weeks, which then become months and years…

      This said, I love those classic small cabinets that become desks (can’t remember the name). Not being able to afford a dedicated studio, I’d love to be able to “put away” laptop, books etc in one place and just pull it out the next day.

  12. Beautiful, but 8K for a sofa/bunkbed is a bit much…this is for extremely wealthy people who can afford to live overlooking Central Park.

  13. The company is called clei (site’s all flash..)

    I had a look around for some prices.. seems a bit more than IKEA, but not scarily so.

    For example:

    I don’t remember what they call a full size bed in the US, king sized, maybe?

    Here’s the bunk bed the guy in the video showed, costs about 2,500 euro, a bit much, maybe.

    or was it this one at 3,000:

    The couches cost a bit.. from 4,000 up to over 10,000..—–1–.html

  14. i keep thinking that one should focus more on these solution so that one can fit more people comfortably in a urban setting to save on transport costs.

  15. That is great

    Soy de Chile, y encontre cada uno de sus muebles geniales.

    Espero que pronto en Chile podamos contar con estos diseños.



  16. first – i cannot believe the “well I pay an even more obscene ammount of money for an even smaller place in London than you!” discussion has not started yet. i guess the room sharing investment bankers are still at work. :)

    the video is amazing. it is not only practial, nerdy but also kinda good looking stuff!
    two real and two fold-out thumbs up for this!!!!

    what about some of these designs in mobile homes? or submarines? or robots/fire engines?

  17. Its a wonderful idea but not really practical. Its most suitable where space is much more expanceive than the materials and labor and expertise used to make the chair. I have worked on cargo ships…old one actually, but the new ones are becoming very compact in terms of crew space. The manufacturer probably much more interested in this kind of stuff to reduce crew cabin space even more.

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