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Why Are Ikea Designers Planning To Stay In A Mars-Style Habitat?

11 June 2017, 9:16 am EDT By Andrew Norman Tech Times
Ikea packed off a few of its furniture designers to stay on the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. A NASA space architect and engineer accompanied the company's designers on the three-day program.  ( Ikea )

Scandinavian company Ikea is popular all over the world for its inexpensive flat-packed furniture. The furniture maker has sent its furniture design engineers to live in the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.

The MDRS — a Mars-style habitat — will be home to a handful of Ikea designers who wish to stay in an environment, which is close enough to one found in a spacecraft. The purpose of the program is for them to devise ways to make living comfortable in cramped quarters.

The Ikea designers wish to have an outer space experience to understand the dynamics, which they need to keep in mind while making furniture suitable for space explorations, as well as possible human settlement on planets such as Mars.

Ikea Aspires For Compact Living On Mars

Ikea made the announcement of this new endeavor during its Democratic Design Days celebration at Älmhult. Ikea's creative leader Michael Nikolic revealed that the designers living in the Mars-style habitat will share their experience and inputs with others in Älmhult.

Ikea has taken up this project to give a new definition to comfortable compact living on Mars. The team of Ikea furniture designers are undergoing this experience to have a thorough understanding of the Mars habitat, so that it can make human settlement on the Red Planet feel more like home.

Purpose Of This Project

Ikea aims to build niche products that are manufactured and developed for withstanding the Red Planet's harsh conditions, as well as make living on the Martian soil comfortable. NASA'a Space Architect & Engineer Constance Adams is accompanying the Ikea design engineers to guide them during the three-day long "Mars Training Program." The Ikea designers will pretend that they are living on Mars during this three-day simulation, to help them come up with ideas for "small-space living."

"It's a crazy, fun experience. We're basically completely isolated for three days to get a taste of what astronauts go through for three years. 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," Nikolic shared.

He noted that the team was inquisitive to understand how this new knowledge could be applied to urban furniture making concepts, to develop furniture for "small-space living" riddled with water and air pollution.

Nikolic also revealed that to create products designed to serve and sustain human life on a spacecraft or an alien planet's habitat such as Mars, one would need to think precisely yet creatively.

The Ikea furniture designers would also need to find new ways to "repurpose things" and make the product's sustainability top priority. Additionally, these concepts developed for out-of-Earth experiences can also be used for our planet as it goes through rapid urbanization and harsh environmental challenges.

Have a look at the video below to see how Ikea plans to revolutionize furniture making.

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