Ikea’s Better Shelter named Design of the Year

Here’s what makes this emergency shelter solution the design of the year.

IKEA Foundation - Better Shelter

The Better Shelter by design giants Ikea was recognised at the Beazley Designs of the Year awards, taking home both the architecture award and the 2017 Grand Prize. Officially the design of the year, the modular emergency shelter was built with refugees in mind.

Designed in partnership with the United Nations, Better Shelter is solar powered housing units have 68 components, making the flat pack easy to assemble and knock down. It’s made of recyclable plastic and is able to house a family of five. According to CNN, since development began in 2015, 16 000 units have been delivered to countries around the world including Iraq, Djibouti, Greece and Niger, to be used as homes, temporary clinics and offices.

IKEA Foundation - Better Shelter


IKEA Foundation - Better Shelter

”We are incredibly proud to be bringing home both the  for Architecture and this year’s Grand Prize – especially in a year with such intense competition,” says Johan Karlsson, initiator and interim Managing Director of Better Shelter.

The Beazley Design Awards recognise the most original and exciting designs from around the world in six different categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Products and Transport.

“We are above all pleased that this prize brings attention to our hard work, and as a result, the refugee situation as a whole. We accept this award with mixed emotions – while we are pleased that this kind of design is honoured, we are aware that it has been developed in response to the humanitarian needs that have arisen as the result of the refugee crisis,” adds Karlsson.

Whether through violence or natural disaster, 34 000 people are forcibly displaced every day. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that an unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.

IKEA Foundation - Better Shelter

The Better Shelter was created to provide alternative, dignified housing when people need it most. Seventy projects were nominated for this year’s awards, all of which can be found in a special exhibition at London’s Design Museum until 19 February 2017.

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