Published: 21st August 2020
This Architecture student's 'R.Poid' can transform into 14 pieces of decor that will change your hostel life
Madhur Sharma designed the wooden cube in 2018 for his own hostel room in an effort to save space, time and money in a sustainable way
Madhur Sharma, a final year student of architecture, has lived in hostels for almost his entire life. The 21-year-old student from Apeejay School of Architecture and Planning in Greater Noida is quite comfortable in his hostel room - in fact, he calls it his home. Two years ago, he decided to decorate it with a piece of furniture that measured 1 cubic foot. The innovative thinker that he is, he created a single piece that can turn into everything from a chair, coffee table, partition to a television unit.
The multi-functional piece of furniture was inspired by his own struggles as a student living alone. “Whenever I move to and from the hostel, I think about all the furniture that you have to buy and move. For so many students or working people, their rented apartments and hostel rooms are their homes. You don’t just stay there temporarily. And most of the time, you end up having to buy more furniture than you can afford and end up wasting it.”
BUILDING BLOCKS: Madhur is a final-year architecture student
The wooden contraption, which he calls a responsive anthropoid or R.Poid (which means resembling a human being in form) can be transformed into 14 different types of furniture thanks to strategically placed joints that line up perfectly with the human form. These include: a Z-shaped chair, a normal chair, center table, coffee table, settee for a single person, a bench, side table, low floor sitting space for a single person and for two, partition for separating two workplaces, plant enclosure for single and double pots, television unit and book shelf.
It was in his third year of architecture that the idea struck Madhur. He remembers, “My hostel room was a very tiny space to live in. I was wondering how I could accomodate a table, chair and everything else I needed in that area. I tried it first with a table that I converted into a chair. I realised that people who live in such small spaces could use much more, that’s why I decided to experiment further.”
BODY BASED: The design perfectly mimics joints in the human body
With the guidance of the Director of his college, Vivek Sabherwal, who offered him the raw material and consultations with expert carpenters, he built his first prototype. The multipurpose wooden cube was designed with three major principles in mind: social, environmental and economical. In the Indian context, the cube is able to answer a range of issues from saving money on multiple pieces of furniture to saving the amount of wood that you use.
“My idea was always sustainable furniture,” says Madhur, “I cannot give away the exact secret of what I have done. But this simple piece of furniture does the job of so many essential things that you need in your home.” Madhur has also designed 10 other sets of furniture for office use and other purposes, 7 out of which also fulfil multiple purposes. The design has been exhibited in various architecture exhibitions and commended by professionals, in addition to winning a number of awards. Madhur hopes to introduce it in the market when his course is completed.