Last month we brought you a smart new design for an indoor emergency shelter by Canadian design firm Molo, and now we're excited to say that they've completed a prototype! Molo adapted the Softshelter system from their freestanding paper room divider Softwall in response to the disasters in Japan earlier this year and now one of their own employees, David, has moved into one of them to test it out. Set up in Molo's Vancouver design workshop, David will spend the next month living in the accordion paper room emergency shelter and reporting on his experiences.
Molo’s Softshelter solution is made up of its expandable, accordion style paper room dividers, which it has been selling for many years. The walls are made from 100% recyclable paper with magnetic door closures. Flexible by design, these walls can be used to create a myriad of shapes and rooms and are intended for indoor use only (as they are most definitely not waterproof). The idea is that post disaster, these flat-packed room dividers could be shipped to large shelters, where they could be set up to create private rooms for families.
One of Molo’s employees, David, moved into a shelter room last week to test out the prototype and see what else could be done to make the system better. David is sleeping on the floor with a select few belongings as well as a light, a towel rod, binder clips and magnets – a package that the team decided to provide with each emergency shelter. So far, David says of the shelter, “On Tuesday I moved a selection of belongings into the workshop. It is comforting to fall asleep completely enclosed by the undulating kraft paper walls. Despite being in the large, open workshop the shelter offers a feeling of safety and isolation.”
The concept seems completely practical and useful in large shelter situations where these private rooms would provide a sense of privacy and dignity for families. On the other hand though, Co.Design is reporting that these paper shelters cost $1000 bucks a pop. It seems pretty expensive for paper alone, but then again, emergency shelters aren’t cheap either (although they should be!). Maybe Molo can set up a system like TOMS shoes, where those that purchase a Softwall room divider also pay for the cost of an emergency shelter in a disaster zone.
Via Co. Design
Images ©Molo Design