Atelier, Marta Rodriguez, petite architecture, university of houston, japanese, sejima, Houston

Urban Biombo_US Patent Pending

Habitable Furniture: When Furniture Becomes a Multifunctional Space

Mobile modular prototype that allows the inhabitant to define and redefine their space to accommodate all aspects of contemporary living.


“Take your pleasure seriously.” Charles Eames.

Urban Biombo is a portable modular habitable furniture prototype that can be inhabited, and configures a multifunctional space inside of an undefined space. It introduces the human scale into a large space, aspiring to eliminate the differences between architecture and furniture. It is a prototype that reinvents San Jerome’s studio painted by Antonello de Messina completed in the latter half of the 15th century. Urban Biombo is a new “equipment” suitable for a house, an office, a loft, a warehouse, a clothing boutique or a book shop. It creates multiple playful possibilities and configurations, thanks to its dynamic quality: to work, play, exhibit, investigate, rest or create. It has the characteristics of a folding screen. It is an adaptable, transformable, efficient, mountable and demountable nomadic structure that connects and separates. It includes shelves, storage areas and folding elements in multiple directions, as well as electrical connections that can incorporate lighting and speakers.

Urban Biombo plays with the relationship between dwelling, appliance, furniture and a folding screen and allows mixed ways of inhabiting the space. It creates is dynamic and transformable environments according to the needs of the individual. It is very fast to assemble (10 minutes per unit). It is easy to store and easy to move.  Its materials are recyclable, light and resistant. It consists of a tubular aluminum structure of 1,5 cm and attached panels of melamine of 1.5 cm, with several options for color finishes.

Urban Biombo can be purchased as a complete prototype —which includes 4 multifunctional units (three vertical and one horizontal) — or also as individual units. Each unit consists of a light structure with two functional panels attached, as well as wheels for easy movement. Each panel has fixed and folding elements that allow it to open, close, fold or rotate. It also includes portable shelves and baskets, seating and resting areas. The dimensions of each unit are 30 x 180 x h 180 cm; all combined occupies 5,83 cubic meters.

Marta Rodriguez + Dijana Handanovic