IKEA has built a replica of a Syrian home inside one of its Norwegian stores to raise awareness of living conditions in the war-torn country
The 25 Square Metres of Syria installation is based on the dwelling of Rana, a mother of four young children who all live in a tiny two-bedroom apartment in Damascus and is intended to give customers a realistic glimpse of what life is like in the war-torn country.
“We had been working with the Red Cross for months, so we had a lot of footage from Syria,” said creative agency Pol, which collaborated on the project. “But no matter how emotional it was, nothing got close to the experience of visiting people in a war zone.”
“We realised we could give Norwegians that experience at IKEA. At the one place where you think of and plan the future — the apartment served as a physical reminder of how lucky we are.”
Instead of sofas are a few scattered rugs, while beds are made from thin sponge mats and old blankets. The walls are made of concrete.
“Norwegian Red Cross had visited Rana and filmed her home, so we knew what conditions it was in,” said Pol. “The whole family shares a few mattresses and she only has plastic to cover the windows.
“It would have been easier to just put up wallpaper, but it wouldn’t have felt the same. We wanted the apartment to be as close to reality as we could.”