SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso

16-year-old artist builds igloos from refugee life jackets for Moroso installation

Artist Achilleas Souras used hundreds of discarded life jackets to assemble an igloo for Moroso's SOS Save Our Souls installation at Milan design week.

The 16-year-old, who has already shown a similar igloo at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona, used jackets collected from the shores of Lesbos – the Greek island that has become a regular landing place for refugees entering Europe.

SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso

While his first igloo used 52 jackets, his SOS Save Our Souls structure is made from 1,000 abandoned garments. Souras cut and folded the jackets to resemble blocks of ice before assembling them together.

The resulting waterproof structure is intended as both a shelter and a welcome point for arriving migrants.

SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso

"The refugee crisis was simply a set of numbers on the news," said the artist, who was born in London and now resides in Barcelona.

"But when I picked a jacket up, it stopped being just material. When you hold the jacket in your hand and you smell the sea, you look at things through a different prism and you realise that every jacket represents a human life."

SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso

A pair of Dutch designers has also found a new use for abandoned lifejackets, and boats – working with refugees to turn them into backpacks made using only rivet guns.

The SOS Save Our Souls exhibition, installed at Italian brand Moroso's Via Pontaccio showroom, is supported by the UN Refugee Agency and the Greek Embassy in Rome.

SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso

"The refugees, the homeless, and the less privileged cannot be 'out of sight, out of mind' anymore," added Souras, who hopes his igloos could eventually be used in rescue operations.

"These are global issues that affect us all, and we must try to solve them for everyone's sake."

SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso

An undercurrent of political awareness is a recurring theme in Milan this year.

Atelier Biagetti set out to explore society's obsession with money and power with an installation that encourages visitors to gamble on the stock exchange, while Raumplan is hosting what it's described as a farewell party for capitalism.

Last year, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei arranged 1,005 refugee life jackets into the shape of lotus flowers for a floating installation in Vienna.

SOS Save Our Souls in on show at Moroso, Via Pontaccio 8, Milan, until 22 April 2017.

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

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SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso
SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso
SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso
SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso
SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso
SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso
SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso
SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso