by Graham Pierrepoint
IKEA are arguably one of the world’s most famous, and most interesting, furniture design firms. The Swedish outfit has become synonymous with bizarre commercials, unique store layouts and even more unique homeware design – with their storage and furniture facilities making up millions of homes all over the world. It’s not hard to understand why the brand is so well known – as they offer a somewhat unique approach to their sales technique as well as their design strategy. Recently, it’s emerged that they really have gone above and beyond to get inspiration for future home design collections – and by ‘above and beyond’, we mean Mars.
That’s right – IKEA designers have, reportedly, decided to start focusing on kitting out space travel – having made their mark on planet Earth, the brand is now looking to expand to the stars, with a team of in-house designers having been stationed in a Mars simulation out in rural Utah, US. It’s thought that the move to station the team for such a period out at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is to give them a taste for just how isolated life up in the stars could be – therefore essentially giving them all sorts of new ideas on how to make space exploration, and even colonization, that little bit more comfortable.
IKEA reportedly hopped on board a project taking place between Lund University students and NASA which was to investigate the necessities of travelling to Mars and being stationed up in the heavens. IKEA’s aims are, it’s stated, to look into how to make space travel more ‘homey’ – according to Marcus Engman, who leads design at the firm.
It’s thought that the project will allow designers to think deeply about how to bring design inspired by space travel into Earth homes, too – with a focus on space-saving and maximising comfort in extremely small spaces. IKEA have famously led the pack when it comes to unique and often bizarre design solutions in the past, meaning that it will be very interesting to see what they come up with for future collections.
Will the space explorers of tomorrow benefit from IKEA dining tables and beds? Will the firm lead the way in terms of kitting out homes and space vessels of the future? They’re starting early – meaning anyone else looking to get in on the game may have some catching up to do!