Refugee Shelter Named Best Design of 2016 by Design Museum

Refugee Shelter Named Best Design of 2016 by Design Museum

Better Shelter has been named the Beazley Design of the Year by Design Museum for its outstanding contribution towards the global issue of population displacement. Designed by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolò Barlera, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR, Better Shelter is a social enterprise bringing design industry innovation to emergency and temporary shelter.

The project has developed safer, more dignified homes for those who have been displaced due conflict and natural disasters. Featuring a lockable front door and a solar powered wall, the shelter utilises flat-pack technology used in furniture design and has repurposed it to create a shelter that can be easily assembled and transported. Flat-packed in a two-box kit along with all the required tools, the shelter is easily assembled in about four hours. The photovoltaic panel provides enough energy to power the supplied light or to charge a mobile phone. 30,000 Better Shelters' are already in use around the world and the judges chose Better Shelter as a clear demonstration of scalable design that has the ability to make a worldwide impact.

"Better Shelter tackles one of the defining issues of the moment: providing shelter in an exceptional situation whether caused by violence and disaster," stated Dr Jana Scholze, Associate Professor, Curating Contemporary Design, Kingston University. "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."

Selected as the winner of the Architecture category, the Better Shelter pipped the five other category winners to claim the overall prize.

Category Winners


Name: OpenSurgery
Designers: OpenSurgery was developed as a graduation project at the Design Interactions department of the Royal College of Art. The initial concept originated from the Healthcare Futures Workshop at the KYOTO Design Lab (D-Lab) at the Kyoto Institute for Technology.

OpenSurgery, created as a graduation project at the Royal College of Art, claimed the Beazley Digital Design of the Year. Selected for demonstrating 'a tipping point' in our relationship with technology, the project was created in response to uninsured Americans posting videos on YouTube and performing minor operations and medical hacks on themselves and others. The Robotic Surgeon proposes an alternative do-it-yourself robot. By combining 3D printing with laser cutting technology hacked with surgical equipment bought online, the machine theoretically could be replicated at a fraction of the cost of professional surgical care.

"10 years ago this thing called 3D printing came along and felt like it would change the world. It was a tipping point for how we would manufacturer the products of the future," commented MB Christie, CEO, Tech City UK. "It has gone on to be used in the manufacture of clothes, food and even organs; and now with a bit of hacking it could be performing operations. OpenSurgery opens our eyes to a serious and worrying problem: it signals a new tipping point that could revolutionise not only healthcare but also how we pay for it. Will robots perform some of our operations in the future? We will have to wait and see."


Name: Children vs. Fashion
Designers: A group aged 8 kids from CEIP La Rioja School, Madrid, Spain

In the Fashion category it was a video exploring advertising that won the award. Children vs Fashion asked a group of eight year olds in Madrid to provide their thoughts on an element of fashion advertising the portrayed gender imbalance. Offering the uninhibited viewpoint of a child, the project exposes the negative impact of a selection of advertisements and how the focus is removed from the clothes that they are intended to promote.

"The Children vs Fashion project provides a provocative and fun commentary in the Fashion category," stated Scholze. "It asks straight forward critical and uncomfortable questions regarding styling, imagery, role models, audience, responsibility and mediation. Such valuable questions initiate self-reflection and debate that are not just relevant for fashion but design practice in general. They re-define the place and function of design in the world today. As such, this film stood out for all of us."


Name: ★ (pronounced Blackstar)
Designer: Jonathan Barnbrook at Barnbrook for David Bowie/Sony Entertainment Inc.

It was the iconic album cover of David Bowie's Blackstar album received the Beazley Graphic Design of the Year. Designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, the Unicode Blackstar symbol created a simplistic identity that let the music take centre stage but also created a design that's easy-to-recognise and share. Designed using open source elements, the artwork for the album became open-sourced itself following Bowie's death enabling fans to engage and interact with the symbols.

"The Graphics category caused heated debate among the jury," stated John Morgan, Founder of John Morgan Studio. "Are we looking for impact, creativity, popularity, significance, timeliness? The Blackstar design is an iconic piece of graphic design that defined an important moment in musical history. It has the ability to connect with an audience and demonstrates the power that music and design has to connect and unite people."


Name: Space Cup
Mark Weislogel: Innovator (IRPI LLC/Portland State University)
Andrew Wollman: Designer (IRPI LLC)
John Graf: Co-Investigator (NASA Johnson Space Center)
Donald Pettit: NASA Astronaut Innovator (NASA Johnson Space Center)
Ryan Jenson: Sponsor (IRPI LLC)

A coffee cup used by astronauts was awarded the Beazley Product Design of the Year. The Space Cup was designed and developed using scientific results of experiments conducted aboard the International Space Station. The cup is designed to exploit passive capillary forces to replace the role of gravity to create an earth-like drinking experience in the low-gravity environment of space. Sealed drink bags are normally sipped through a straw to avoid spilling in space. The Space Cup however uses surface tension, fluid wetting properties, and a unique shape to drive the liquid toward the astronaut's mouth whilst drinking from an open cup.

"A coffee cup for astronauts says it all. The perfect collaboration of design and tech to make anything possible no matter where you are, or even what gravitational field you are in," said Loyd Grossman, Broadcaster. "It may be a lot of work for such a small product but it will make the world of difference for those that are so far from home."


Name: Lumos - A Next Generation Bicycle Helmet with Integrated Lights, Brake, and Turn Signals
Designers: Eu-wen Ding - Co-Founder & CEO, Jeff Haoran Chen - Co-Founder & CTO

Lumos, the world's first smart bicycle helmet with integrated light signals, completed the category winners by being named the Beazley Transport Design of the Year. With a built in accelerometer Lumos detects when you're slowing down and automatically displays a brake light and turn signals. In August 2015, Lumos Helmet blew past its funding goal of $125,000 USD to raise over $800,000, making it the highest funded bicycle helmet campaign in crowdfunding history.

"The Transport category is usually occupied with grand schemes for planes, trains and automobiles but something as simple as a helmet that helps cyclist to become more visible and safer is just as important," commented Marcus Fairs, founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen. "Transport is not only about city-defining projects that are 20 years in the making; it's about the everyday experience of commuters as well."

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