The humanitarian, durable and change-driven design won the shelter the top spot alongside Design Indaba’s director:
The Better Shelter refugee project was founded in Hällefors, Sweden in 2010. Today, the project responds in an original and unhesitating way to the crisis of our time, by granting safe, comfortable and sustainable dwellings to the displaced. The flat-packed prefabs are assembled in only four hours and can last up to three years (six times longer than an typical emergency tent). The initiative started in 2013 and by 2016 thousands of shelters had been distributed worldwide. The project’s outstanding design and partnership with UNHCR and the IKEA foundation is bringing new visibility to the plight of refugees around the world.
On stage to collect the prizes were Ravi Naidoo and on behalf of Better Shelter, IKEA Head of design Marcus Engman — whose statuette was presented to him light heartedly in flat-pack form, complete with easy to follow instructions for swift reassembly, greeted by laughter from the audience.
It all started as one of the world’s most interesting design conferences: the Cape Town-based annual ‘Design Indaba‘ festival was created by Ravi Naidoo in 1995, with a focus on African and global creativity. Still under the direction of Naidoo, 2016 saw an external curator join the team, the Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane. A multitude of new exhibitions, features, lectures and round tables have been added to the event’s robust and colorful 22 year history. Design Indaba also cultivates musical creativity, building a solid cultural bridge between african talents and worldwide players. Naidoo’s Design Indaba has, since its inception, changed the way we perceive design fairs and creative events, and has cemented in our minds the momentous significance of african art in the world today.