Swedish mega-retailer IKEA is taking action to combat the destitute living conditions faced by Syrian refugees.
Just 25 square meters in area, the structure represents the actual home of a woman named Rana and her nine family members. Presented in stark contrast to the nearby IKEA room displays, the room’s concrete block walls and sparse furnishings highlight the everyday struggles of Syrian citizens.
“When we had to flee to this area to find safety, we did not have enough money to rent a better place. We have no money to buy mattresses and blankets, or clothes for the children,” Rana told the Norwegian Red Cross.
Items throughout the model home feature the iconic IKEA tags, but instead of price and dimensions, they list stories about the Syrian family’s daily life in the face of war and the crippling shortages of the basic needs like food, water, and medical supplies. Most importantly, each tag also provides information about how customers can help.
Meanwhile, in London, the Design Museum has installed one of IKEA’s flat-pack refugee shelters, “the Better Shelter,” outside the South Kensington Underground station, just steps away from the institution’s new home within a 1960s structure renovated by a team including OMA and John Pawson.
The occasion marks the Better Shelter’s first public exhibit in the UK, and will be on display until the museum’s reopening on November 24th.
Nominated for the Design Museum’s Beazley Designs of the Year Award 2016, the Better Shelter was developed by the IKEA Foundation in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Refugee Housing Unit in 2013 to provide a high-quality temporary accommodation that could replace the tents currently used in refugee camps all over the world.
Thousands of the structures have since been deployed worldwide, serving as a longer term solution for housing and other needs.