Dezeen Magazine

Stefania Vulpi's Universal Unconditional platform lets people borrow citizenship

Dutch Design Week 2015: Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Stefania Vulpi has created a conceptual online system that allows a network of people to temporarily share their nationality (+ movie).

Prompted by her own frustration at Europe's ongoing refugee crisis, Vulpi designed the Universal Unconditional digital platform that would allow people to create profiles, and apply to swap or borrow someone else's citizenship.

Universal Unconditional by Stefania Vulpi
Stefania Vulpi's Universal Unconditional website allows applicants to lend their nationality to others

The system is intended to function as a network of global participants, all willing to donate their national identity, and the ensuing benefits, for a fixed period of time.

"It's a crazy idea, but it's also crazy wonderful to think about it," Vulpi told Dezeen.

"Of course I couldn't make it real or make it happen, because it's impossible, but I wanted to see how it could work," she added.

Universal Unconditional by Stefania Vulpi
Users can apply to borrow another's or lend their own citizenship

Applicants can request to borrow particular elements such as the right to healthcare, asylum, or employment, depending on their requirements.

The site also offers services for people in need, bringing together professional citizens that can volunteer legal aid, translation or medical assistance.

Universal Unconditional by Stefania Vulpi
Vulpi designed accompanying Universal Unconditional print materials including official documents

Vulpi designed a range of printed materials to accompany the site, including official stationery and a passport that would clearly identify the holder as a member of the UNUN Embassy, and state their lending and borrowing status.

"I think design has two ways of influencing or helping, and one is very practical – creating systems that can help or facilitate integration," said Vulpi. "The other side is to create scenarios, question the rules, and question the system."

"Not necessarily subvert the system or turn it upside down, literally, but shine a light on it," she added. "When you do it in a creative way, you have a different approach."

Universal Unconditional by Stefania Vulpi
A Universal Unconditional passport could be used to show someone's nationality sharing status

Fellow Eindhoven graduate Manon van Hoeckel also tackled the issue of immigration with In Limbo mobile embassy – a travelling office designed to facilitate discussion by allowing migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to serve as ambassadors.

Both projects are on display at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate exhibtion as part of Dutch Design Week 2015, which runs from 17 to 25 October.

During the event, the school's creative director Thomas Widdershoven told Dezeen that Design Academy Eindhoven students are now more interested in responding to real-world problems such as Europe's refugee crisis than making beautiful objects for collectors.