March 10, 2013 - DESIGN + SCIFI


To design living areas in the cosmos or on other planets than Earth.

Designing for space and create living areas in the cosmos or on other planets than Earth.

We immediately think about some utopian structures and microarchitectures of the ’60s, like the British group Archigram’s « Plug-in-city » or about egg-shaped or aerodynamic forms like Olivier Mourgue’s seats in Stanley Kubrick’s « 2001: A Space Odyssey ».

A Walking City, Ron Herron, Archigram, 1964
A Walking City, Ron Herron, Archigram, 1964

At a time where the first man prepared to walk on the Moon, utopias about technological progress and space conquest are at their height.

Djinn furniture Oliver Mourgue 1965 in 2001 a Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick
Djinn furniture Oliver Mourgue 1965 in 2001 a Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick

On July 20th 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. It was the first time that Man landed on another Solar System entity but Earth.

Already in 1946, the German-American space engineer and the future NASA manager Wernher von Braun launched « Das Marsprojekt » (The Mars Project) to send 70 men in 10 ships to Mars. Thanks the Walt Disney’s animated film called « The Exploration of Mars » broadcasted on American television, it was the first space project that was accessible to the public.

But where are we more than 50 years later?

Virgin Galactic spaceship two Feather
Virgin Galactic spaceship two Feather

Space travel has never been so close to us. The first astronautical company « Virgin Galactic », introduced by Richard Brandson, will offer to develop touristic space travel with one trip around the Earth and one around the Moon.

In February 2013, the millionaire Dennis Tito offers to a couple to travel around Mars before 2018 and even before NASA’s first astronaut’s trip, scheduled in 2030. This project named « Inspiration Mars » will last for 501 days and is now looking for financial supports. In 2001, it was this same millionaire who was the first tourist into space.

When space travel will not be exclusively reserved for researchers, how will we adapt the spacecraft to neophytes? Here is the new issue of space design.

These democratized space travels will lead to some constraints of actual transportation design but with heavier ones because of more tiresome and longer trips that would have to become as pleasant as possible.

Following space research, future exploring expeditions could be composed of a heterogeneous team with maybe a designer within. What would then be the kind of innovations that he could bring and what adjustment solutions could he offer on new planets? Amongst others, he could participate in resolving confinement, proximity with others and disorientation issues.


« Archigram: architecture without architecture », Simon Sadler, Cambridge, MA, 2006

Documentary «Turen gÅr til Mars» (Bringing Life to Space), Jacob Gottschau, 84min, Express TV-Produktion, 2010, Denmark

Orgone: Utopie et Science Fiction

Astronautix: Travels to Mars

Virgin Galactic