Good Thinking

Ikea's refugee shelter declared best design of 2016

Ikea's refugee shelter declare...
The Better Shelter includes windows, a locking door, and a solar panel on the roof
The Better Shelter includes windows, a locking door, and a solar panel on the roof
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The Better Shelter includes windows, a locking door, and a solar panel on the roof
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The Better Shelter includes windows, a locking door, and a solar panel on the roof
Over 30,000 Better Shelters have been shipped and are currently in use
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Over 30,000 Better Shelters have been shipped and are currently in use
Children vs. Fashion won the Fashion category with a video exploring advertising. A group of eight year olds in Madrid were asked to provide their thoughts on fashion advertising's portrayed gender imbalance
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Children vs. Fashion won the Fashion category with a video exploring advertising. A group of eight year olds in Madrid were asked to provide their thoughts on fashion advertising's portrayed gender imbalance
The ★ (Blackstar) album cover, designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, won the Graphics category. The distinctive artwork for David Bowie's final album was made open source after his death so fans could engage with and manipulate the image
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The ★ (Blackstar) album cover, designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, won the Graphics category. The distinctive artwork for David Bowie's final album was made open source after his death so fans could engage with and manipulate the image
The Lumos bicycle helmet won the Transport category. Promoted as the world's first smart bicycle helmet with integrated light signals, Lumos features an accelerometer that detects when you're slowing down and automatically displays a brake light 
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The Lumos bicycle helmet won the Transport category. Promoted as the world's first smart bicycle helmet with integrated light signals, Lumos features an accelerometer that detects when you're slowing down and automatically displays a brake light 
The Lumos helmet includes 28 bright white LEDs that change to yellow when the turn signals are used. At the rear is a set of 22 red LEDs laid-out as a traditional triangle shape
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The Lumos helmet includes 28 bright white LEDs that change to yellow when the turn signals are used. At the rear is a set of 22 red LEDs laid-out as a traditional triangle shape
OpenSurgery was developed as a graduation project at the Design Interactions department of the Royal College of Art and won the Digital category
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OpenSurgery was developed as a graduation project at the Design Interactions department of the Royal College of Art and won the Digital category
Open Surgery was designed to highlight a 'tipping point’ in our relationship with technology and was created in response to uninsured Americans posting videos on YouTube and performing minor operations and medical hacks on themselves and others
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Open Surgery was designed to highlight a 'tipping point’ in our relationship with technology and was created in response to uninsured Americans posting videos on YouTube and performing minor operations and medical hacks on themselves and others
Space Cup won the Product category. Designed and developed following experiments conducted aboard the International Space Station, the Space Cup uses surface tension, fluid wetting properties, and a unique shape to drive liquid toward the astronaut’s mouth. It was designed by Portland State University and NASA's Mark Weislogel, Andrew Wollman, John Graf, Donald Pettit, and Ryan Jenson
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Space Cup won the Product category. Designed and developed following experiments conducted aboard the International Space Station, the Space Cup uses surface tension, fluid wetting properties, and a unique shape to drive liquid toward the astronaut’s mouth. It was designed by Portland State University and NASA's Mark Weislogel, Andrew Wollman, John Graf, Donald Pettit, and Ryan Jenson

Ikea's Better Shelter refugee shelter has been declared the 2016 Beazley Design of the Year by London's Design Museum. Beating competition from the likes of David Bowie's Blackstar album cover and the Lumos bicycle helmet, the shelter was lauded by the judges for making a positive impact around the globe.

The Better Shelter was designed by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolò Barlera, the Ikea Foundation, and UNHCR. Like a piece of Ikea furniture, it's delivered flatpack in a couple of cardboard boxes and can reportedly be assembled in hours without any specialist tools.

The shelter offers more safety and security than the tents more commonly used in refugee camps and comes with an anchoring system to keep it in place in high winds.

Over 30,000 Better Shelters have been shipped and are currently in use
Over 30,000 Better Shelters have been shipped and are currently in use

Inside, there's a total floorspace of 17.5 sq m (188 sq ft) and while certainly basic, it includes windows, a locking door, and a solar panel on the roof that powers the included light or charges a phone. Over 30,000 of the shelters are currently in use. You can watch a Better Shelter being assembled in the video at the end.

The annual award also recognized winners in Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Product, and Transport categories (the Better Shelter was in the Architecture category), each of which you can see in the gallery.

You can also check out the Better Shelter, category winners, and 70 other nominations at the Design Museum in London until February 19.

Source: Design Museum

Better Shelter Assembly in 5 min

8 comments
Bob
Is it just me or did that seem like an awful lot of small pieces and work putting them together. Nice design but could it be done with fewer parts? Perhaps a lot of the parts could be hinged and just unfolded?
Raph
Best design? Define design! In Zurich, Switzerland the goverment bought those shelter's for refugees. Unfortunately they didn't fulfilled the regulations regarding flammability and the authorities returned them. But maybe fire resistance and therfore people's safety is not a design criteria for refugees shelters? Well done!
JoeFrederick
Agree with Bob. I'm exhausted just watching that video of the incredibly detailed assembly process. I would have done it prefab in six folded sections, to be fully installed in five minutes flat. IKEA just likes to make us suffer ... we know that.
Bob Flint
If this is the Best of Design, then it is definitely a problem, far too many parts, it took (estimated 30 minutes based on the fast forward video running approx. 6x for 5 minutes) & the thing doesn't even have water collection...
RichardNygaard
Ralph, you know what else I didn't notice. Hurricane shutters, built in sprinkler system for fires, burglary alarm. It's a basic shelter and it needs to meet a price point. Your argument could be made for all products.
ljaques
That is, without a doubt, one of the best shelters I've seen. Yes, it has a gazillion small parts. It is likely that they're made of plastic, so it takes more to make these things sturdy. That's OK. SAFETY in hard rains or winds is a good thing for the refugees using them. The roofs seem to have some sort of insulation, so that's good, as are the ventilators on either end. Why is there no price mentioned anywhere in either listing here on GizNA, and why are they not available via the IKEA website, which hangs on the mandatory email page for the US or on the accessible Australian website? Arrrrrgh!
Mik-Fielding
Hmm, not entirely convinced, lack of windows, must be really dark and dingy inside without a lamp and a complicated structure that would also be a real pig to erect in a wind ... Whilst I am not decrying the attempt at a better solution to housing refugees, I do reckon a better design than this could have been done with IKEA's resources. OK let's forget what it looks like for a moment. Having assembled and erected many dozens of structures at festivals and camps AND used them in all sorts of weather conditions, I find this design very lacking in practicality. It suffers from so many design failings that I am almost shocked. Firstly, the flimsy frame used, although this may give some structural integrity once assembled with all of the panels, it is likely to suffer damage during assembly, especially in adverse conditions. Assembling the panels will also be prone to difficulty if there is anything more than a gentle wind. The use of so many small connecting 'pins' in the construction, being not only time-consuming but easily to drop and lose especially in real world conditions, try finding them in grass or when trodden into sand. The panels could have been semi-rigid and interlocked together, or be flexibly linked so they simply folded out. This could avoid the need for the frame in the first place and made the assembly far, far quicker and much easier to do in adverse weather conditions. They could easily incorporate thin wall insulation. A good design should also be easy to erect by two or three people. As is is, this is just a glorified frame tent that uses thin panels instead of a fabric cover and doesn't deserve any awards at all ...
EUbrainwashing
Funny enough, for some reason these structures put me in mind of an East German political prisoner camp in the 1970's and and 1980's. Oh I know why! Because that is how Ikia kept their costs so low whilst it was gaining market share - using forced labour in Communist work camps to reduce costs. So I would not get too sycophantic over this company's motivations for being involved with housing illegal migrants. In its history it has benefited from child labour too which now it publicly comes-out on as fighting against. Ikia are accused of diverting funds to the Ceausescu's henchmen secret police in Romania in the 1980's as part of a £10m p.a. deal. German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) suggests a deal was also struck between Ikea and Cuba in 1988 which saw sofas, tables and living room sets made by Cuban prisoners. Ikea have faced allegations that its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, was friends with Swedish Nazi-sympathizer Per Engdahl and worked as a recruiter for the fascist Sweden's Socialist Union (SSS) during World War 2. Even today IKIA are embroiled in a disintegrating land deal, back in Romania again, for millions of acres of forests across the country sold originally in the time of the corrupt communist government to off-shore investment companies belonging to Harvard University and more recently bought from them by IKIA. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/harvard-ikea-corruption-romania_us_56d86cbbe4b0000de4039509 Building huts to house humans is about this company's limit.