IKEA develops Flatpack for the less fortunate

ikea flatpack shelter
The IKEA flatpack refugee shelter

The Ikea foundation partnering with UNHCR (the UN’s Refugee Agency), have acted to make life a tiny bit more comfortable for the approximately 3.5 million refugees living on planet earth.

For the unfortunate refugees –  already forced to leave their homes through war, famine or natural disaster – current accommodation usually comprises a makeshift tent designed to last around six months and pretty much open to the vagaries of the weather – too hot in the daytime and too cold at night, and heaven only knows what happens when the weather turns nasty. In addition when it goes dark, there are no provisions for any form of power, either for lighting or cooking.

The IKEA foundation started work on designing a more robust shelter in 2008, when memories of the indian ocean tsunami were still fresh. And so they formed partnerships with leading designers, working together to come up with a more liveable solution for refugees who often have to stay in the camps for several years.

The prototype shelter –  now being trialled in a refugee camp in Ethiopia – is assembled without any special tools in around 3 hours, and comes with specially insulated plastic panels, which help keep the shelter cool during the day and retain some heat at night. In addition a solar panel provides some degree of lighting after dark and power for a USB connector.

Big pat on the back for IKEA, who with a little bit of luck, and no small amount of ingenuity, could be making a huge difference to the lives of refugees all over the planet, once the design is finalised. The price I hear you ask? Well, it’s going to be approximately $1,000, which is about double the cost of the standard tent…. but hey, it’s surely a small price for such a massive difference to the lives of people who have already had a rough ride. We haven’t been called on to build one yet, but for everything else that arrives in a box give us a call 0845 388 5252 or see our website for more info.


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