IKEA Just Turned The Tiniest Of Homes At The Mars Desert Research Station Into A Spacious Stay

28 November 2019
Culture, Design, Home, Architecture, IKEA
Images: Courtesy of IKEA
The living pod on MDRS received the IKEA treatment: an interior filled with space-saving furnishings

For the uninitiated, the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) isn’t actually on Mars – you can only imagine the cost involved in the space ride over, not to mention delivery for all of IKEA’s savvy furnishings. Instead, the MDRS is a simulation site that’s designed to emulate the physical and psychological conditions of Mars, where groups of up to six scientists can visit to carry out various investigations into the red planet, how we might fare living there, and what that kind of existence might look like.

The MDRS is located in southern Utah and has seven elements: a greenhouse, solar observatory, engineering pod, science building, robotics observatory, and a domed, two-floor living habitat called The Hab. Basically, it’s every space- and science-loving fiend’s dream getaway.

The Hab is where scientists stay during their periods of research, lasting anything between one week to three months. But while you might think that those pioneering a sustainable future for humanity deserve the ultimate stay in luxury and decadence, that’s not exactly what The Hab offers. Measuring just eight metres in diameter, you may as well have them sleeping in a makeshift space shuttle.

But that’s where IKEA comes in. Known for their extensive catalogue of products that turn any home into something that could be featured in the final reveal on Queer Eye, interior designer of IKEA, Christina Levenborn, ventured to MDRS to overhaul the living quarters with the company’s products. Levenborn not only wanted to inject some style into the place, but also wanted to see how IKEA products could be better adapted to suit micro-homes – otherwise known as tiny homes – which are becoming something of a trend in today’s over-populated cities.

Speaking to Dezeen publication, Levenborn said: “We always want to test and improve our range, and from MDRS, we hope to learn more about living in extremely small spaces and how our products can be used.”

She added, “There is also knowledge to gain about the scarcity of materials, repurposing and sustainable living. Preparing for this kind of scarcity on Mars put a focus on all the good things we have on Earth that we take for granted.”

In a means to spruce up the place, The Hab was decked out with some of IKEA’s latest products, including adjustable Tertial lamps and a 16-pocket Stuk organiser, which comes fixed to a hanger so that it can be suspended from a variety of surfaces. For the kitchen, which has steeply-curving walls, the team opted to use pieces from IKEA’s Sektion collection including a high cabinet with shelves that can be customised to sit at different heights, a cupboard with deep drawers and chairs that can be stacked and stored away to free up extra space.

“We tried to work with products for small-space living situations that could be arranged in a flexible and multifunctional way,” said Levenborn. “In a small space where many people have to share workspaces, it is important to be able to adjust to everyone’s needs.”

So, before you bemoan that tiny apartment that’s the only thing your rent can afford, perhaps it’s time to take some inspiration from IKEA and The Hab. Levenborn proves that even the tiniest of homes can be made to feel spacious with some careful planning and well thought out products. You might just need some friends to be generous with their gifting this year, and hope that gift takes the form of an IKEA gift card.


Via GQ Australia