IKEA's Design for a Future Mars Colony Is as Cool as It Sounds

Friday, 15 December 2017 - 11:13AM
Technology
Mars
Friday, 15 December 2017 - 11:13AM
IKEA's Design for a Future Mars Colony Is as Cool as It Sounds
When it comes affordable design, one of the most ubiquitous companies in the world is IKEA.

Choose a house at random in any major city and you'll likely find a shelving unit, chair, or bed that was purchased flat from the Swedish design giant and assembled inside.

With humanity's sights set on colonizing Mars, the question of what a habitat will look like on the red planet is an important one, and IKEA has been working to figure it out.

A team of IKEA designers visited the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station habitat in the deserts of Utah this summer to spend three days training with and learning from experts so that they could better understand how people will live and interact with furniture in confined spaces and in a very different environment from Earth.

"It's a crazy, fun experience," said IKEA Creative Leader, Michael Nikolic. "We're basically completely isolated for three days to get a taste of what astronauts go through for three years. It's almost like that misery you feel when you're out camping. But of course, it's great to be able to sit down and really spend time with amazingly creative people. That in itself is a luxury."

By thinking small, IKEA hopes to find a way to apply what they learned and scale it up for larger cities.

By talking with actual astronauts and being in the research station, the designers found that priorities change. The need for privacy was a big one, Robert Janson told NBC News.

He added needing more physical space was also an important lesson learned.

"We had these bunk beds that were taking up lots of space the whole day, and the only time we really used them was for sleeping." 

Constance Adams, a space architect and engineer who participated in the program with IKEA, said that "every object has to have multiple functions—otherwise, we just can't afford it," which led to discussions about designing beds that can be incorporated into the walls of habitat.

Check out the video below from IKEA's Democratic Design Days, which speaks more about the upcoming Mars design project.

Science
Space
Technology
Mars
IKEA's Design for a Mars Colony Is as Cool as It Sounds