Submitted by WA Contents

A very practical refugee wearable shelter designed by RCA students

United Kingdom Architecture News - Feb 1, 2016 - 22:41   5648 views

all images © Cassie Buckhart

Royal College Of Art Interior Design & Textiles students have developed an innovative and multifunctional wearable dwelling in direct response to the Syrian refugee crisis. The garment is designed to convert from a jacket with large storage pockets into a sleeping bag and also a tent. Lead project tutors Dr Harriet Harriss & Graeme Brooker set the design brief and have been working with project advocates - WALL Fashion London - who have offered to take us as far as covering the cost of making the factory-ready prototype.

The project currently in development and refinement stage - now seeks funding in order to mass produce the garment, and help refugee aid agencies transport and distribute these wearables – in the places it’s needed most. RCA students has tested the wearable shelter and the shelter got a large batch ready for distribution - after which point the students are confident they can create a self-sufficient production system. RCA's wonderful and talented students names are as follows: Gabriella Geagea Anne Sophie Geay Cassie Buckhart Eve Hoffmann Anna Duthie (textiles) Jess Wang Hailey Darling Zara Ashby Ruben Van den Bossche Giulia Silovy.

''Art & design education is often misunderstood to be frivolous and self-indulgent or focussed upon designing for a cultural elite. What this project demonstrates is the keenness of students to use their design talent to make a difference where it matters. The Syrian refugee crisis is a humanitarian crisis that needs as many spirited acts of compassion as possible to help address the problem. Our students are determined to see their inventiveness form part of the solution'' told WA Dr Harriet Harriss, one of lead project tutors.  

Head of Interior Design program Graeme Brooker explained, ''we are very keen to explore the way in which the interior can exemplify a commitment to social change.Through the projects we undertake on the interior programme at the RCA we challenge our students to reflect upon their own concerns in the wider world and how as designers they may attempt to affect meaningful, thoughtful changes to peoples lives. The wearable shelter will not solve this crisis but in a small way it  may provide some help but also act as a catalyst for more assistance in this tragic situation''

The aim is to work with UK refugee agencies to continue to develop the design in time for a summer (July 2016) deployment. If the design needs to be adjusted to make it more affordable we will make these changes. RCA's project partner WALL Fashion are offering RCA advice on how to develop the project and the students are extremely grateful to them.

If the project cannot proceed due to any faults with the project will be refund by all the project's investors. The sums pledged are for manufacture /mass production and distribution only. RCA states that ''we are resourcing the design development ourselves, by doing it as a student design project''.  The project is waiting your supports on Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise £300,000 by the end of February.

Project Facts

Design team: Gabriella Geagea Anne Sophie Geay Cassie Buckhart Eve Hoffmann Anna Duthie (textiles) Jess Wang Hailey Darling Zara Ashby Ruben Van den Bossche Giulia Silovy.

> via Royal College Of Art