Ikea's line of flat-pack furniture is one of the store's bestsellers because of its compactness, convenience, and easy-to-assemble nature. It is called "flat-pack" because the furniture is usually assembled on one's own, as well as easy to dismantle and move to another place.
Ikea has transferred the concept behind the flat-pack furniture into building temporary, no-frills shelters to alleviate the refugee housing problem. By partnering with the United Nations, the Swedish furniture giant hopes to help refugees from war-torn nations who have fled the comfort of their own homes.
According to the Ikea Foundation, the goal of building refugee shelters is to "to develop and provide innovative housing solutions for the many people displaced by conflicts and natural disasters."
Video Shows Better Shelter Can Be Built In Four Hours
The flat-pack shelter can accommodate a family of five and is powered by a solar panel that can be used to turn on lights and charge electronic devices. The modular shelter is also made of recyclable plastic and is comprised of 68 parts that come inside two flat boxes, which can be assembled in four hours.
Watch this two-minute time-lapse video and see how the refugee shelter is built from scratch:
The Ikea shelter is a welcome change from emergency refugee tents made from canvas and offers a more dignified home for displaced people. The 188 sq. ft. shelter is lightweight, weatherproof, and sustainable. It can last up to three years in moderate climates, and most of its parts can be interchanged if damaged. The home is also equipped with windows for ventilation and a secure door with a lock for privacy.
Since its production in 2015, as many as 16,000 units have already been deployed in countries such as Iraq, Djibouti, Greece, and Niger.
Refugee Shelter Design Wins Beazley Design Of The Year Award
This shelter is called "Better Shelter," and its design has won the Grand Prize in the annual Beazley Design of the Year contest sponsored by The Design Museum.
"Better Shelter tackles one of the defining issues of the moment: providing shelter in an exceptional situation whether caused by violence or disaster," says Jana Scholze, a design professor at Kingston University and one of the award jurors.
In a press release statement, Johan Karlsson, Better Shelter's Interim Managing Director, says that the award has brought attention to the plight of refugees and that the organization accepts it "mixed emotions."
"While we are pleased that this kind of design is honored, we are aware that it has been developed in response to the humanitarian needs that have arisen as the result of the refugee crisis," says Karlsson.