IKEA turns to NASA for small-space living inspiration | MNN


IKEA designers at Mars Desert Research Station, Utah
What can IKEA designers be taught from NASA house architects? With regards to designing furnishings for a future through which a majority of the world’s inhabitants will probably be squeezed into tight city areas, lots. (Photograph: IKEA)

Studiously analyzing micro-apartments, tiny houses and concrete housing tendencies can solely get you to date once you’re trying to convey revolutionary residing options to the sq. footage-starved lots. In the event you actually need to learn to take advantage of out of a restricted quantity of liveable house, there’s no higher place to show for inspiration than NASA. In spite of everything, astronauts are outdated professionals at making do with cramped residing quarters.

And so, a group of 5 IKEA designers has determined to boldly go the place no group of IKEA designers has gone earlier than: the Mars Desert Analysis Station in distant southern Utah.

Joined by house architect and NASA guide Constance Adams, the intrepid group lately took up residence for 3 days on this distant Mars simulator utilized by real-life astronauts-in-training as a part of an effort to “dig deeper” into small-space design ideas. (Whereas utilized by NASA and different house exploration applications, the Mars Desert Analysis Station is owned and operated by the Mars Society, a Colorado-based nonprofit.)

Based on a blog dispatch, the group hoped to emerge from the claustrophobic confines of the simulated Mars floor exploration habitat with a better understanding of the connection between consolation and compact residing in addition to further insights into how shoppers really feel about and work together with small home areas. With an eye fixed towards mobility and dense city environments the place residing house usually comes at a premium, IKEA has been on the forefront of small house residing for some time now.

IKEA notes that for the primary time in historical past, city facilities at the moment are extra populated than rural areas. By 2050, the United Nations predicts that roughly 70 p.c of the world’s inhabitants will dwell in cities. “Therefore, extra persons are and will probably be in want of recent options for his or her houses,” reads a press release. “In spaceflights, small house residing has at all times been a actuality. IKEA will subsequently faucet in to what scientists and engineers be taught from spaceflight to Mars, and apply these discoveries to merchandise and strategies for on a regular basis life at house, right here on Earth.”

With the latest sojourn — basically, a super-abbreviated model of the months-long Mars Coaching Program — into the Utah desert, IKEA is elevating analysis into downsizing and zero-waste to the subsequent plateau.

Calling the expertise “loopy, enjoyable,” Michael Nikolic, inventive chief for IKEA Vary and Provide, notes that the acute isolation was “virtually like that distress you’re feeling once you’re out tenting. However in fact, it’s nice to have the ability to sit down and actually spend time with amazingly inventive individuals. That in itself is a luxurious.” (Most of us would beg to vary on that distress half; maybe one thing has been misplaced translation.)

Mars Desert Research Station, Utah
We’re not in Småland anymore: A small group of in-house designers from IKEA lately decamped to a Mars simulation habitat within the distant Utah desert. (Photograph: IKEA)

A furnishings assortment about ‘appreciating what we have now on Earth’

IKEA’s space-inspired initiative/assortment was introduced in a sometimes splashy method final week at Democratic Design Days, an annual media hootenanny held on the firm mothership in Älmhult, Sweden. As reported by Quartz, Adams and the IKEA group have been beamed in through dwell satellite tv for pc from the analysis station to talk to reporters assembled in Älmhult about their experiences.

“I’ve obtained them on a schedule very very similar to a schedule a Mars crew would have,” mentioned Adams.

This all mentioned, the house furnishing behemoth’s newest enterprise may at first look like a gimmicky PR stunt from an organization that has perfected the artwork of the gimmicky PR stunt. However that’s not the case right here as IKEA appears to be going all in with this one.

Past the three-day tour to the Mars Desert Analysis Station, Quartz notes that IKEA plans to proceed working alongside Adams, the architect liable for the transit habitat for the primary human mission to Mars, in addition to Sweden’s Lund College College of Industrial Design, which has been sending graduate college students to NASA-run applications for the reason that late 1990s.

As a part of this undertaking IKEA can even look into the habitat which NASA are planning to placed on Mars. We’ll have a look at how we collectively can clear up the inside of the Mars habitat, the place IKEA will contribute with our expertise and information about what makes a house really feel like house to individuals, even whether it is on Mars.

Apart from being described as “curious,” there’s no phrase what the precise assortment ensuing from IKEA’s first foray into house exploration may appear like when launched on this planet in 2019. It is also unclear if there will probably be an all-important meals part. (Freeze-dried Swedish meatballs in lingonberry sauce, anybody?)

However as Nikolic explains: “I feel that the essence of this assortment will probably be about appreciating what we have now on Earth: human beings, vegetation, clear water and air. But in addition range and a way of belonging — issues that we take without any consideration every day. After this journey, it’ll in all probability really feel fairly superior to come back house to my very own mattress.”

“This collaboration will not be about IKEA going to Mars, however we’re interested by life in house, the challenges and wishes, and what we are able to make out of that have for the many individuals,” Nikolic elaborates in a separate assertion. “If you design for all times in a spacecraft or planetary floor habitat on Mars, you could be inventive but exact, discover methods to repurpose issues and think twice about sustainability elements. With urbanisation and environmental challenges on earth, we have to do the identical.”

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, structure and the intersection between the pure world and the constructed surroundings.

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