Text description provided by the architects. On September 26, 2018, MARS Case—a minimal housing prototype designed by OPEN Architecture in collaboration with Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi—was officially unveiled to the public outside the Bird’s Nest National Stadium in Beijing. The proposal is part of an annual cross-industry innovation and research platform known as House Vision, which uses the medium of the “house” to explore and question the direction of our living habits and urban environments in the future.
Two hundred years ago, Henry David Thoreau withdrew from society and moved to Walden alone to reflect upon the nature of simple living. Today, in an era of environmental crises and seemingly endless material consumption, we must ask ourselves—what are our essential needs?
With MARS Case, OPEN challenges conventions of living space and proposes new possibilities for the future. The prototype imagines that humanity is forced to settle on Mars—a distant, lonely planet. There, we cannot rely on natural resources, as we have become so accustomed to on Earth. There, we have no choice but to reduce the excessive consumption of our former lifestyles and carry only minimal essentials. Recycling will be the only way we survive. As we find new appreciation in every drop of water, every bite of food, and every breath of air, will we at last discover the freedom of truly simple living? Is this what we should define as the ideal house of the future?
MARS Case envisions this ideal house, which seamlessly combines technology, product design, and architecture. Domestic appliances in Xiaomi’s current product lines can all be connected wirelessly and controlled over smart phones. MARS Case goes a step further to integrate these separate electronic appliances into one synthesized product, The Home. In harnessing and recycling the heat, exhaust, condensation, and other byproducts generated by each electronic device within it, the house feeds energy, air, and water and air back into an integrated ecosystem, minimizing consumption of resources.
This is MARS Case. A place of self-circulating energy and zero waste. A lightweight, compact 2.4 meter x 2.4 meter x 2 meter module, within which—like a suitcase—all the house’s service components and inflatable living spaces can be folded and stored for easy transportation. An industrial product suited for the living needs anfd environments of all users, everywhere on earth. And above all, an ideal house with which to explore the boundless possibilities of the future.