Ikea’s solar-powered refugee shelter wins design of the year

Ikea’s flatpack Better Shelter has improved the lives of thousand of refugees around the world.

UN Refugee Agency Provides Shelter to Quake Victims
Typical emergency tents. © United Nations Photo at Flickr

The solar-powered shelter, lasting six times longer than any typical emergency tent, has been crowned Beazley design of the year 2016 by London’s Design Museum.

Expert in squeezing complex items of furniture into tiny self-assembly package, the Swedish company came up with a robust 17.5 sq m shelter. According to The Guardian, the shelter – fitting inside two boxes – can be assembled by four people in four hours following picture-based instructions using only a hammer.

“If you compare life in the tents and life in these shelters, it’s a thousand times better,” Saffa, 34, told UNHCR. “The tents are like a piece of clothing and they would always move. We lived without any privacy. It was so difficult.”

Born from the collaboration between the Ikea Foundation and the UNHCR, the Better Shelter is made of steel frame clad insulated polypropylene panels combined to a solar panel on the roof that is able to provide fours hours of electric light or phone charging via USB. Anchored to the ground and stab-proof, the shelter took five years to develop.

“When the rains came to the camp, the water was about one foot high,” said Hind, 30. “But this shelter is more protected. We have a door we can close and lock. I feel it’s safer and cleaner.”

To read the original story, click here.

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