Design Museum installs IKEA refugee shelter on London streets

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Design Museum installs IKEA refugee shelter on London streets

Ahead of its opening later this month, the Design Museum has installed one of IKEA's flat-pack refugee shelters outside a London tube station.

The Better Shelter, which is nominated for a Designs of the Year award, has popped up outside the South Kensington Underground station in west London – moments away from the Design Museum's new home on Kensington High Street.

Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter

The structure is raised up on a yellow plinth created by London office ScottWhitbystudio.

According to the Design Museum, it is the first time that the refugee shelter has been publicly exhibited in the UK, and it will remain in its outdoor location until 23 November 2016.

Afterwards, it will move to the Designs of the Year exhibition, where it will be exhibited alongside other nominees, including the artwork for David Bowie's final album and Adidas' running shoes made using recycled plastic recovered from the sea.

Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter

"This project sums up Beazley Designs of the Year and shows how the design industry can use their skills and knowledge to solve a real and pressing issue – that of temporary shelter for displaced people," said curator Gemma Curtin.

The Better Shelter is a 17.5-square-metre module that can be assembled without tools in four hours. It has an expected lifespan of three years and can accommodate five people.

Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter

The IKEA Foundation launched the flat-pack emergency shelter back in 2013 to offer an alternative to the tents often used to house displaced people, of which there are now more than 65 million worldwide.

Thousands of Better Shelter cabins have since been deployed globally, with many being used for functions other than housing, or grouped together to create larger structures.

Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter

"It is a real opportunity," IKEA Foundation CEO Per Heggenes told Dezeen in an exclusive interview last month. "Because they are modularised, they offer a way of creating small health stations, as doctors did in Nepal, or creating temporary schools."

The Design Museum, which formerly occupied a former 1940s banana warehouse in Shad Thames, will reopen in the former Commonwealth Institute at 224-238 Kensington High Street on 24 November.

John Pawson's conversion of the 1960s building will triple the museum's previous exhibition space to almost 10,000 square metres, allowing it to accommodate the first permanent display of its collection, alongside two temporary exhibitions.

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Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter
Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter
Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter
Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter
Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter
Design Museum installs Ikea Shelter