Though we’re still some years away from establishing a livable colony on Mars, scientists around the globe are already trying to figure out the best way to do it through on-planet research, like that which is taking place at Utah’s Mars Desert Research Station. That also means having to figure out suitable living spaces for human colonists. In the case of the MDRS, that meant calling upon none other than the Scandinavian furniture brand IKEA.
As it turns out, IKEA’s minimalist design language actually works brilliantly in the context of a Mars colony, as it allows for the maximization of small spaces — similar to those in crowded urban areas. To outfit the research station as best as possible, interior designer Christina Levenborn and her team actually stayed the night there to better discern how existing IKEA offerings could work in the space, before returning later to completely renovate the interiors of the MDRS. And while the concept will obviously help with humanity’s future off-world endeavors, the lessons learned will also serve to influence the brand’s future small-space projects here on Earth.