Better Shelter grew out of Hällefors, Sweden, where it started in 2010 as a design and innovation project aiming to provide humanitarian relief. The shelter, which was created by designers Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas and Nicolò Barlera, in partnership with the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR, earned the Design Museum of London’s top honor, the Beazley Design of the Year. It also won the Architecture category.
The team’s mission statement? “Better Shelter is a social enterprise driven by a mission to improve the lives of persons displaced by armed conflicts and natural disasters. Aiming to be the leader in emergency and temporary shelter innovation, they continuously develop their products together with partners, customers and, most importantly, the people who live in the shelters. Through innovative methods, they aim to create a safer, more dignified home away from home for millions of displaced persons across the world.”
“Better Shelter tackles one of the defining issues of the moment: providing shelter in an exceptional situation, whether caused by violence or disaster,” says Jana Scholze, associate professor, Curating Contemporary Design at Kingston University London, who was one of the judges. “Sadly, we have seen many instances recently where temporary shelter was necessary. Providing not only a design but secure manufacture as well as distribution makes this project relevant and even optimistic. It shows the power of design to respond to the conditions we are in and transform them. Innovative, humanitarian and implemented, Better Shelter has everything that a Beazley Design of the Year should have.”