This Pop-Up Shelter Brings Smart Design to Disaster Relief

In 2011, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, killing hundreds of people, destroying buildings, and leaving thousands of residents homeless. The event was particularly personal for Ankara-based design firm Designnobis, but the minds there also saw a need worldwide: They estimate that in 2013, natural disasters around the globe displaced 22 million people.

Temporary displacement due to natural disasters is a traumatic experience in and of itself, and emergency tents tend to underperform when it comes to providing proper relief for those who find themselves suddenly homeless for days or weeks at a time.

This need has led to Designnobis' “Tentative”—a shelter that’s easy to pack, transport, and build. It’s an elevated structure that stands just over 8 feet tall with 86 square feet of room for inhabitants.

"Temporary shelters are usually complex structures that require space and time to build," Hakan Gürsu, founder of Designnobis, told Fast Company. "What we intend with Tentative is to provide a smart, compact shelter that is flat pack, easy to transport, and practical to build."

Durable, weather-resistant fabric walls filled with thermal insulated perlite (a form of obsidian that's abundant in Turkey) stretch over the fiberglass shell to create the temporary shelter. The roof has water collection capabilities, and a door and window allow for natural light and easy ventilation. The floor contains recyclable, thermal-insulating composite decks, and the elevation (provided by an aluminum frame) prevents heat loss, which can be particularly devastating for the displaced. Assembly can be done with regular tools and takes less than an hour; when completed, Tentative can house two adults and two children.

Tentative is also compact when broken down, and Designnobis estimates that a typical flat-bed semi truck can transport 24 of them at a time. It’s designed to house refugees for three to four months.

For now, Tentative is in the prototype phase, and manufacturing costs could present hurdles. Designnobis hopes to produce the shelter for $2500 a piece, and are in search of a manufacturer. As Fact Company notes, IKEA is looking to produce a similar temporary shelter for $1000 a piece, so while the ins and outs are still being worked out, one thing is certain: We're one step close to providing better relief for those most in need.

[h/t FastCoDesign]

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

The Force Field Cloak
This Glowing Blanket Is Designed to Ease Kids' Fear of the Dark
The Force Field Cloak
The Force Field Cloak

Many kids have a security blanket they bring to bed with them every night, but sometimes, a regular blankie is no match for the monsters that invade their imaginations once the lights are off. Now there’s a glow-in-the-dark blanket designed to make children feel safer in bed, no night light required.

Dubbed the Force Field Cloak, the fleece blanket comes in several colorful, glowing patterns that remain invisible during the day. At night, you leave the blanket under a bright light for about 10 minutes, then the shining design will reveal itself in the dark. The glow lasts 8 to 10 hours, just long enough to get a child through the night.

Inventor Terry Sachetti was inspired to create the blanket by his own experiences struggling with scary nighttime thoughts as a kid. "I remember when I was young and afraid of the dark. I would lie in my bed at night, and my imagination would start getting the best of me," he writes on the product's Kickstarter page. "I would start thinking that someone or something was going to grab my foot that was hanging over the side of the bed. When that happened, I would put my foot back under my blanket where I knew I was safe. Nothing could get me under my blanket. No boogiemen, no aliens, no monsters under my bed, nothing. Sound familiar?"

The Force Field Cloak, which has already surpassed its funding goals on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter, takes the comfort of a blanket to the next level. The glowing, non-toxic ink decorating the material acts as a gentle night light that kids can wrap around their whole body. The result, the team claims, is a secure feeling that quiets those thoughts about bad guys hiding in the shadows.

To pre-order a Force Field Cloak, you can pledge $36 or more to the product’s Indiegogo campaign. It is expected to start shipping in January 2018.


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