A group of students from London’s Royal College of Art were asked to develop wearable shelters for those displaced by conflict in their home countries. The brief for the Wearable Habitation project – set by professors Harriet Harris and Graeme Brooker – stated that the coats had to be able to reconfigure into a small dwelling or tent-like structure with enough room to accommodate two to four people. Material used needed to be both cost effective and sustainable where possible.
Wearable Habitation is the result, a prototype coat for refugees that transforms into a tent or a sleeping bag. The product is made from paper-like synthetic material Tyvek and insulated with Mylar – a polyester material. When worn as a coat, the design resembles a baggy parka with a large hood. Pockets on the inside can be used to store passports and personal documents. Black zips allow the coat to be completely opened out and transformed into a sleeping bag. Lightweight kite-rods can then be fed through specific seams to form a tent. Visual assembly instructions will be printed onto each garment.
“We spoke with Médecins Sans Frontières to get an idea of what a refugee’s journey truly was,” said Harriet Harris “Our garment has three stages of use: one as a piece of clothing, one as a sleeping bag and one as a tent. These three aspects adapt to the conditions a refugee would experience through their two-to five-week journey..Good design isn’t about technologies and devices – it has a social heart and a role to play in meeting the needs of people facing impossible challenges. ”
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