Tag Archives: IKEA

When technology helps humans to be more… human

Nowadays the world has to face diverse issues that are inevitably changing and affecting the lives of so many people. Wars, catastrophic phenomena, and the list goes on: people must leave their own hometowns, in most of the cases their countries. In the past years, but especially in the last one, a huge and massive move of refugees has been acknowledged to have the status of main priority regarding the issues to be solved.

I was lucky enough to come into the world in a relatively safe country, Italy, and live my first 28 years as human being in a relatively state of peace; when I say relatively, I mean that yes, I haven’t experienced a firsthand situation of danger (whatever it could be), I haven’t fled from my hometown and spending cold winters or hot summers in a tent, trying to queue whenever possible in order to get a piece of bread or having a quick shower. However, can we really say that we live in a peaceful era, according to many the most peaceful era after the end of the WWII?

When I found out the piece of news I’m gonna talking about, I felt good. There still are some kindness, some goodhearted souls that have the means and the knowledge to make something up that is useful for other human beings, in moments imbued with sorrow and grief.

 

This piece of news is linked to a design award, that is to say the Beazley Design of the Year 2016, given to flat-pack shelters planned to host displaced people, letting them have a safe and comfortable place to live. Behind that, there is a Swedish social enterprise called Better Shelter, whose aim is to give humanitarian assistance as effectively as possible through a key concept: sustainable design. Some years ago, Better Shelter started a partnership with IKEA Foundation and UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) in order to design and plan shelters. Shelters that are innovative: they use recyclable plastic to make them; moreover, these flat-pack shelters are not only suitable for people living in a condition of emergency, but also quite practical: it is possible to assemble them in few hours.

How to cope with crisis as promptly as possible? How to help people and make them live in a shelter capable of giving them a sense of a real home? These were the starting points that have characterized Better Shelter and their partners at the beginning of their adventure. The results, so far, can be summarized by one of the award juror’s words, Jana Scholze:

“Better Shelter tackles one of the defining issues of the moment: providing shelter in an exceptional situation whether caused by violence or disaster. Providing not only a design, but secure manufacture as well as distribution makes this project relevant and even optimistic. It shows the power of design to respond to the conditions we are in and transform them.”

A perfect world doesn’t exist. However, such initiatives and projects as the one I’ve written about in this piece, have the goal to help those people and families by making their sad and sorrowful ‘inner’ world a little bit… perfect.


Source Featured image: http://www.bettershelter.org/about/

Text source: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/27/design/design-of-the-year-2016-ikea-refugee-shelter/index.html

Picture one: https://www.dezeen.com/2015/03/24/ikea-flat-pack-refugee-shelters-go-into-production-better-shelter-unhcr/

Picture two: http://inhabitat.com/ikeas-modular-better-shelter-housing-unit-is-a-solar-powered-emergency-home-for-refugees/better-shelter-housing-unit-1/

And Hello to the Astronauts!

I cannot contain my excitement on hosting and meeting hundreds of astronauts from all over the world. This has to be one of my most memorable events. The astronauts were here in Sweden for the annual Association of Space Explorers (ASE) Congress and they had been travelling around Stockholm and the Kronoberg county, including Växjö and Älmhult.

Well, I have to admit I’m not into spacey stuff. I only knew one astronaut out of the hundreds and that was because many of Swedish friends asked ‘Is Christer Fuglesang going to be there?’ I did a little google and yes, he is famous. During the event, I had a really inspiring conversation about space travel with a German astronaut and at the end, I embarrassingly asked ‘By the way, what’s your name?’ Well, I should have done some pre-googling and ‘homework’.  Now, I can say I know three more astronauts.

Christer Fuglesang walking with Selin, IKEA co-worker and organizer of the event

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The astronauts were welcomed by IKEA co-workers and myself as well as students from Linneskolan. The Grade 9 students designed this rocket weighing an impressive 240 kilos and 3.2m where the astronauts signed and autographed on the rocket.

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The astronauts had a closed private meeting, followed by an innovation presentation by Tony Sandelius, development manager at IKEA of Sweden. Tony began his presentation with this line, “This is without a doubt the toughest crowd to impress.” Totally agreed!

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All the astronauts were extremely friendly and energetic. We took selfies with Christer and he was totally cool with it and the best part was that the astronauts personally thank us before leaving, we felt warmly appreciated and it was truly remarkable to be a part of this.

Space invasion in Sweden, checked!

A day as an Intern at IKEA

This is the final week of my two month internship. It’s been a really fascinating journey and a pleasure to meet and work with so many wonderful people, including hosting visitors and media from all over the world. There’s never a dull moment. I know I’m not the only one who’s having a blast. My coursemates have also ventured into US, Bangladesh, Spain and cities from all over the world for their internships. From our school’s internship blog, you can see what my friends have been up to, and their interesting experiences at work. I know we would have lots to catch up when we get back together for the final seminar in school.

Flatpacks, Fashion and infinite Novelty. Who would have thought a furniture company could be so upbeat, dynamic and inspiring. Oh yes, we party too! Find out about my day as an intern in IKEA and what brings media from around the world to Älmhult, the heart of IKEA, in this video.

I feel quite emotional about my last week here. There are so many things which I will miss at IKEA of Sweden – free daily breakfast, fresh daily supply of free fruits, biscuits and crisp bread, the fika station/coffee machines which are everywhere in the office, free bicycle rental and most of all, I’m very thankful to my supervisor, Johanna, and all the people whom I met and worked with from around the world. Beyond words, it’s such an incredibly amazing experience but the best part is experiencing the Swedish work culture.