A Syrian War Damaged House Displayed in Ikea.
How strange is it to enter an IKEA store’s corner, and find an empty room with just gray cement and no comfortable furnishing or any colorful patterns?
The Norwegian Red Cross collaborated with Ikea to create a model of a simple family’s apartment with no furniture in Damascus. The main reason behind the model is for a fundraising campaign as it gives the visitors a realistic overview of how a house/room looks like in a country suffering from war like Syria.
The room is designed thanks to the input given by the Creative Agency Pol.
The created room is in the center of an IKEA store in Norway. It is a model of a 25-meter squared apartment of a Syrian mother of four called Rana .She gave up her work to make sure of her family’s safety and to raise her children. Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) provides them with food for survival but of course, the donations are never enough.
“We had been working with the Red Cross for months, so we had a lot of footage from Syria,” said Pol. “But no matter how emotional it was, nothing got close to the experience of visiting people in a war zone.”
“When we had to flee to this area to find safety, we did not have enough money to rent a better place. We have no money to buy mattresses and blankets, or clothes for the children,” Rana told the Red Cross team.
The house lies in a safer neighborhood if compared to the others. In Jamarana neighborhood, all families have no other choice except staying in those incomplete buildings which would never provide shelter against the winter’s cold.
“We realized we could give Norwegians that experience at IKEA. At the one place where you think of and plan the future — the apartment served as a physical reminder of how lucky we are.” Said Pol.
As displayed in IKEA, the room had no furniture just some rugs and beds made of sponge and old covers. Even the IKEA famous price tags were exchanged with tags that tell stories of different refugees from Syria and describe how to help in the Red Cross donations.
The team says that the most difficult thing they faced while working on the installation was to build the outer shell concrete walls, but achieving that made the installation much more related to the reality of the Syrian house.
“It would have been easier to just put up wallpaper, but it wouldn’t have felt the same. We wanted the apartment to be as close to reality as we could – because this is real! People live like this,” Foldero said.
IKEA has always been known for its initiatives to help the refugees’ crisis around the world .For example by offering flat pack emergency shelter which the company made for displaced people in 2013. Plus, many of them were used for other functions like health stations and schools.