Ikea explores the work environment for astronauts in space

Something for the weekend: Office surroundings and a good quality working environment are vital in helping employees stay distraction-free and productive during the course of the working day. Furniture retail organisation Ikea plans to push the boundaries of workplace and home design to new frontiers by exploring spacecraft-centric furniture for astronauts’ use during space travel.

The project will see the organisation collaborate with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) and masters students from the Lund University School of Industrial Design to research what astronauts would need for a three-year space travel mission to Mars.

With a focus on smart furniture products that are ideal for small-space living, Ikea will investigate what makes space travel homely, before applying the design lessons learnt from spaceflight scientists and engineers to urban homes here on Earth.

As part of the project, Ikea will also explore the habitat that Nasa plans to put on Mars, and investigate what furniture and home solutions could be applicable to create a home-away-from-home on the red planet.

Ikea will launch its space collection in 2019.

Michael Nikolic, creative leader at Ikea Range and Supply, said: “This collaboration is not about Ikea going to Mars, but we are curious about life in space, the challenges and needs, and what we can make out of that experience for the many people. When you design for life in a spacecraft or planetary surface habitat on Mars, you need to be creative yet precise, find ways to repurpose things and think carefully about sustainability aspects. With urbanisation and environmental challenges on Earth, we need to do the same.”

Here at Employee Benefits, we’d love to see what Ikea comes up with for the collection. To misquote The Firm’s song ‘Star Trekkin’: “It’s furniture, Jim, but not as we know it…”