We've all been on one side of this dilemma: either facing a move into an unfurnished property and wishing for temporary rental furniture to tide us over, or surveying unwieldy furniture for transport and wondering why we ever bought so much? Enter Casulo, an intelligent design for mobile bedroom furniture which hopes to deliver a quick-fix for short-term rental. Marcel Krings and Sebastian Mühlhäuser at the Köln International School of Design created the prototype as part of a dissertation in June 2007 and are hoping their patented concept could go into production soon.

Casulo, the Portuguese word for cocoon, is a complete set of bedroom furniture which can be set up by one person using no tools in less than ten minutes. The initial box unfolds to reveal an armoire cupboard to hang clothes, a desk/table with separate cabinet, a revolving, height-adjustable chair, two stools, a set of tall shelves, and a bed with mattress. The stools also serve and double as additional storage containers, as do the drawers of the desk cabinet which have invisible locks. The clothes rack is magnetized, and there are safeguards for computer cables and electric wires.

When disassembled and packed the Casulo becomes a box measuring 120 cm in length, 90 cm in height, and 80 cm in width (47.2 x 35.4 x 31.5 inches) and weighs around 150-170 kg. It conveniently packs onto a standard European pallet which makes it easy for transport and for storage, but it can be transported in separate pieces if necessary.

The designers say it will “never show signs of wear and tear” which seems a pretty bold statement, but we assume they mean to convey that the construction materials are durable. They also hope to produce versions that age gracefully, or have easily-replaceable parts.

The ethos behind the design actually comes from the modern day concern with over-consumption. In a world where we are increasingly mobile and increasingly faced with spontaneous changes of residence, city or even country, we are often faced with the same dilemmas and find ourselves wondering how or why we collected so much unnecessary “stuff”. Krings and Mühlhäuser admit that at first the concept may seem too economical, but believe that it is in-line with the current trend towards less consumption and presents a very practical solution.

The hope is to cash in on a number of markets; the rental market for national and international students, or transient service providers that move city frequently; landlords that wish to rent out rooms short-term to people with no furniture between longer leases; and business start-ups that could see the potential in investing in tourist guest rooms.

In a vote for long-suffering parents everywhere they also suggest that with a Casulo, wandering graduates will not fill up sheds, cellars and garages with college furniture, especially since a packed Casulo can store items in more than a third of its volume, or could be stored elsewhere for a nominal monthly fee. If you're reading this Mom and Dad, it's ten years too late, but we should have got a Casulo...

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