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Ikea's right-on refugee shelter flat-pack


Move over Billy bookcases and Kassett CD storage, Ikea is launching, as part of World Refugee Day on 20 June, an unlikely addition to its flat-pack range: a refugee shelter. A mallet will be provided with the instructions.

Although touted as an alternative to the tents widely used at emergency camps around the world, the flat-pack house comes in four boxes weighing more than 100kg, and currently costs more than £5,000 to make.

The prototype has been worked on for the past two years by The Ikea Foundation – Ikea's charitable arm – alongside the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Once in mass production, its designers believe the unit cost will come down to £640.

However, a typical UNHCR refugee tent costs between £64 and £380. Johan Karlsson, lead designer, insisted: "This will last longer. The lifespan will be three times that of a tent."

No word yet on how it compares to a Billy.