IKEA’s Better Shelter was announced as this year's winner at the Beazley Design Award ceremony that took place in the new home of the Design Museum in West London.
Selected as the winning entry in the architecture category, IKEA’s Better Shelter beat all of the other contenders and claimed the design award. The reason for this was its outstanding contribution to the global problem of population displacement.
Back in 2013, the IKEA Foundation produced this flat-pack emergency structure to offer an excellent alternative to tents that are often used in housing displaced people and refugees. As of this moment, there are more than 60 million displaced people worldwide.
The shelter is designed to last up to three years. It is a shed-like structure that’s made of polymer panels that have been laminated. It has thermal insulation and the panels are clipped into a steel frame. It has an area of 17.5 square meters and can house an entire family of five.
According to Kingston University's Jana Scholze, a jury member, Better Shelter tackles a defining issue: providing shelter in unusual situations caused by disaster or violence.
"It reveals that design has the power to respond to conditions that we are in. What's more, it shows that design can transform them. Implemented, humanitarian and innovative, Better Shelter has all the characteristics that we are looking for," said Scholze.
The jury included Marcus Fairs, the editor-in-chief of Dezeen, John Morgan, a prominent designer, Tech City's MB Christie, and Loyd Grossman, a successful entrepreneur. Awards were given in other categories besides architecture such as fashion, graphics, transport, product, etc.
Among the contenders was also David Bowie's final album artwork, designed by the famous Jonathan Barnbrook. The album artwork was designed to reflect the mortality of the musician.
"The graphics category has caused a heated debate among all the judges," exclaimed Morgan. "A graphic design iconic piece, The Blackstar defined a very important moment in the history of music."
On the other hand, the robotic surgeon, OpenSurgery, which allows users to carry out procedures at home took the award for the digital category. Lumos, a light-up bike helmet, was among the top picks for the transport projects.
As for the fashion category, the winning entry was a video that explored advertising in a child's perspective. It was given the title of Children vs Fashion and was created in Madrid, Spain.
The entry that was on top of the product shortlist was Space Cup, which is a cup designed for the use of astronauts.
All of the shortlisted projects this year were put on display in an exhibition. According to Gemma Curtain, Beazley Design Awards curator, the awards this year displayed a greater engagement with world problems compared to the previous years.