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30 Jan 2017

Oliver Wainwright, Guardian (UK)

Ikea wins design award for refugee shelter developed with UNHCR

"Why Ikea's flatpack refugee shelter won design of the year", 27 Jan 2017

The Swedish furniture giant’s innovation has just been crowned Beazley design of the year 2016 by London’s Design Museum...Ikea has come up with a robust 17.5 sq m shelter that fits inside two boxes and can be assembled by four people in just four hours...Developed by the not-for-profit Ikea Foundation with UNHCR over the past five years...Since production started in June 2015, over 16,000 have been deployed to crisis locations ranging from Nepal, where Médecins Sans Frontières used them as clinics following the devastating earthquake.  Several thousand have been sent to Iraq, and hundreds to Djibouti to house refugees fleeing Yemen...Dr Tom Corsellis, executive director of NGO Shelter Centre, is impressed, having seen the shelters in action in Iraq and Greece.  “Private-sector innovation in the humanitarian world often has a bad name,” he says.  “There’s a sense that they keep throwing us gadgets and gizmos we don’t need.  But the Better Shelter is a real improvement – from its flexibility to it being the only shelter of its kind you can actually stand up in.  It’s big enough for children to do homework in and adults to do some kind of home-based enterprise.  It offers a chance for basic, dignified living.”...