As the population of Earth increases, Marcus Engman (IKEA's head of design) and his team believe that space-saving, small-footprint furniture will be key. He hopes that this endeavor will inspire his team to design new types of furniture. "It's the same way we work with home visits, but this is a home in space," explained Engman to Wired. "They get into the vibe to explore what we could do that we don't think of today for for products for Earth."
It's not exactly clear why these designers needed to specifically live in a Mars simulator for small furniture inspiration, rather than in just a tiny urban apartment -- but hey, it makes for good press. But if IKEA's end goal is to actually collaborate with NASA to provide furniture for an eventual Martian habitat, then it makes sense they'd want their designers to experience the challenges of living in such an environment.
IKEA also is working with fellow Swedish electronics design house Teenage Engineering for an upcoming collection. FREKVENS is specifically aimed at millennials and will focus on products that IKEA thinks are necessary for an awesome house party, such as a vinyl player, lighting and an electronic choir -- because the one thing my last get-together was sorely missing was an electronic choir.