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Ikea x Nasa — the Swedish company is designing space-friendly furniture

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Complaining about your tiny home? Astronauts redefine compact living… and Ikea is taking up the challenge to come up with furniture that can fit comfortably in a spacecraft.

Photo: Reuters

And, if the stars are aligned, it would also be designing furnishings for homes on Mars, if ever feasible plans to set up habitats on the planet lift off.

The Swedish company is working with American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) on such a mission.

According to ZME Science portal, Ikea's team of designers has stayed for three days at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in the United States as part of the Nasa tie-up.

"It's a crazy, fun experience. We're completely isolated for three days to get a taste of what astronauts go through for three years," said Ikea creative leader Michael Nikolic.

In a press statement, the company added: "What does comfort mean for compact living? How do we feel in small spaces? This year, Ikea is digging a bit deeper."

Ideas generated from the partnership should also spin off furniture and fixtures for Earth's small apartments that many millennials now live in, given the high cost of homes in many major cities in the world.

Beyond the three-day Nasa immersion, Ikea's design team will continue to work on pushing boundaries with Nasa's architects, as well as Sweden's Lund University School of Industrial Design, which has sent graduate students to Nasa's boot camps since 1999.

The Nasa venture was announced at Ikea's recent Democratic Design Days event that also showcased a range of other ideas, from incorporating the sense of smell into design to an augmented reality partnership with Apple.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times.