Ikea is responding to the growing housing affordability crisis
Ikea is responding to the growing housing affordability crisis

Ikea looks to Mars for space-saving furniture inspiration

URBANITES are being forced into shrinking apartments due to the housing affordability crisis but furniture giant Ikea has come up with a cunning plan to deal with it.

It is launching new micro-living furniture, inspired by storage ideas in actual space shuttles.

Ikea will shrink its furniture to target those who have to move into small apartments and tiny homes.

"An Ikea team is looking into how a Mars habitat can become more like home," Ikea said in a statement.

The micro-living plan was announced on Wednesday at the Democratic Design Day in Sweden and a team of Ikea designers will be cooped up and put through a mini-version of NASA's Mars Training Program to identify what storage solutions work and what's missing.

The IKEA journey into space just started. More on www.ikea.today/ddd #IKEAtoday #IKEADDD #space

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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," Ikea creative leader Michael Nikolic said.

Ikea hopes a new found knowledge of space will help make the furniture big box more relevant to those living in mega cities, "where small-space living, air and water pollution is the norm".

Architecture and design magazine Dezeen reports Ikea will be working with NASA and Lund University School of Industrial design to "tap into what scientists and engineers learn from spaceflight" and the way they deal with micro-living spaces.

Ikea uses space travel as inspiration for new micro-furniture collection.
Ikea uses space travel as inspiration for new micro-furniture collection. Ikea

"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 many people," Mr Nikolic said.

"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. Cities are Australia's fastest growing areas and homes are shrinking to make room for soaring populations.

"Urban challenges such as small living spaces will lead to changes in the home," Ikea told Dezeen.

"Already today downsizing and micro-living is a reality in big cities.

"In spaceflights, small space living has always been a reality. Ikea will, therefore, tap into what scientists and engineers learn from spaceflight to Mars, and apply these discoveries to products and methods for everyday life at home, here on earth.'

IKEA's micro-living furniture will be launched in big box stores in 2019.

The retail giant also announced at the Democratic Design Day it would be creating furniture targeted specifically at millennials.

Virgil Abloh, designer of street wear brand Off-White, will help Ikea "transform the first homes of millennials".

"We're looking at that first phase of adult life, when you start making purchases for your space," Abloh said.

"Largely people grow up in their parents' environment. They've never had to consider furniture. Then when they're off on their own and have their own aesthetic, what are their first purchases? I'm interested in thinking about how these purchases are informed."