All over the world, social and political grievances, environmental and natural disasters, or armed conflicts force people to leave their familiar surroundings.
Many of these people have an urgent need for temporary accommodation or mobile housing solutions. With its FLEXI SPACE project, the German-Kenyan team Housing addresses this problem.
The three designers Julita Afande, Betty Mwema and Hannah Weirich, together with the architect William Otuke, interviewed homeless people in Kenya as well as in Germany and asked them about their urgent needs.
As different as the situations in the two places may be, they often involve the same basic lack of safety, hygiene and security.
And this is exactly where FLEXI SPACE comes in with an idea that is as simple as it is effective: »Creating a home without a home« is the motto of the team’s project, which is essentially about providing homeless people (or »future homed« according to the team) with the basic advantages of a residence without four solid walls using innovative products.
Designs were created for a personalised locker system that provides homeless people with a safe place to store personal belongings and an address - a requirement for so many things. Plans were also developed for flexible, lockable and foldable sleeping bags with a heat-insulating layer and solarpowered mobile phone charging station. Likewise, sketches have been made for hygiene safety backpacks that could solve the problems of many female homeless people in particular.
In general, FLEXI SPACE appears to be an expandable concept. Thus, in addition to the designed products, public showers or employment agencies specifically targeted at homeless people could also be part of the initiative’s offer in the future.
The presentation of the FLEXI SPACE project was recorded at the »Ideas Crossing Borders« conference in Berlin. The final presentations of the other two teams of the Design Networking Hub, MOBILITY and TECHNOLOGY, are also available on YouTube.
Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Design Networking Hub was established in May 2021 and is a knowledge and networking platform for designers, architects and creative professionals to support international cooperation projects in the field of design.
An integral part of the Design Networking Hub is the exchange of ideas on an equal footing, as all participants should learn from each other and grow together. In order to make the information offered on the platform as user-oriented as possible, a pilot group of five German and five Kenyan designers and architects was put together to work in small teams through the entire process of a bilateral cooperation. In the areas of mobility, housing and digitalisation, they are developing new product and business ideas or non-profit concepts.
German Design Museum Foundation
The German Design Museum Foundation was founded in 2011 on the initiative of the German Design Council and is based in Frankfurt am Main. Since its foundation the GDMF has firmly established itself in the German foundation landscape and established itself as a multi-voiced and non-profit institution for the overall design spectrum with nationwide funding projects. The purpose of the Foundation is to promote and communicate design to a broad public as a significant component of applied art and everyday culture. Since its foundation and with the support of committed cooperation partners, the German Design Museum Foundation has organised numerous projects in the form of workshops, summer academies, exhibitions, publications and the development of a digital museum.
German Design Council
The German Design Council was founded in 1953 by the Federation of German Industries and leading companies on the initiative of the German Bundestag. More than 350 renowned companies from various industries support the German Design Council in implementing design as an economic and cultural factor. Outstanding designers as well as up-and-coming young designers are also supported. The German Design Council strengthens the general public's understanding of design beyond Germany and acts as an international interface.
Design Kenya Society
Based in Nairobi, the Design Kenya Society brings together Kenyan designers, design students and design businesses with the aim of strengthening the design and creative sector in Kenya and promoting excellence in African design.
German Design Museum Foundation
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