Three men in orange jumpsuits and numbered backpacks walk toward a stout, cylindrical building.

The IKEA journey into space just started

It’s Democratic Design Days, and a great day for travelling into space. Going way back, the notion of space has always been an interesting topic for IKEA. What does comfort mean for compact living? How do we feel in small spaces? This year IKEA is digging a bit deeper…

An IKEA team is looking into how a Mars habitat can become more like home. To tackle the challenge head-on, they’re spending three days at Mars Desert Research Station* habitat in Utah – a confined spacecraft-like environment that simulates the experience of outer space. Real astronauts spend up to three years here to prepare for the real deal. Together with Constance Adams, Space Architect & Engineer, they’re going through a mini-version of the “Mars Training Program”.

“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. 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,” IKEA Creative Leader, Michael Nikolic says.

A desert landscape with domed tents and a telescope.

The team is curious to find out how this newfound space knowledge might be relevant to the urban life in mega cities, where small-space living, air and water pollution is the norm. If they can find solutions that work on a small scale, what’s stopping them from applying it to a larger one?

“I think that the essence of this collection will be about appreciating what we have on Earth: human beings, plants clean water and air. But also diversity and a sense of belonging – things that we take for granted on a daily basis. After this journey, it’ll probably feel pretty awesome to come home to my own bed,” he smiles.

*Mars Desert Research Station is a program created and managed by the Mars Society.

You’ve seen the teaser, now it’s here…