August 26, 2019
Design Student Proposes Small, But Humane Tweaks to Swiss Refugee Bunkers
Iskander Guetta’s award-winning Abri+ project upgrades the standard furniture found in Switzerland’s temporary shelters.
Faced with an influx of refugees, Swiss defense minister Ueli Maurer hit upon an unusual idea in 2015: Asylum seekers could be temporarily housed in the country’s vast network of bunkers, which were built as nuclear fallout shelters in the 1960s. It seemed like a logical solution, but as design student Iskander Guetta toured the refugees’ new living quarters in 2017, he was shocked by what he found: “Everything had the same color, the same tables, chairs, walls. It made me think of a prison.”
So for his graduation project at the Lausanne University of Art and Design, Guetta created a set of simple accessories to make bunker living more humane. Consisting of clips, hooks, a wireless lamp, and a storage solution, the award-winning collection provides an open-ended way for refugees to personalize their space and make themselves a bit more comfortable, until they can find more permanent accommodations.
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