Ikea's right-on refugee shelter flat-pack
Emily Dugan is social affairs correspondent for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards.
Sunday 16 June 2013
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.
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