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Young Greek artist Souras builds igloo with refugee lifejackets in Milan Design Week

16-year-old Achilleas Souras presents a powerful political-social installation built around the life jackets discarded by refugees on Greece’s shores. Artist Souras used hundreds of discarded life jackets to assemble an igloo for Moroso’s SOS Save Our Souls installation at Design Week in Milan.

The work fuses social engagement with the practical aim of extending protection from water to land.

The 16-year-old, who has already shown a similar igloo at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona, used jackets collected from the shores of Lesbos – the Greek island that has become a regular landing place for refugees entering Europe.

While his first igloo used 52 jackets, his SOS Save Our Souls structure is made from 1,000 abandoned garments. Souras cut and folded the jackets to resemble blocks of ice before assembling them together.

SOS installation by Achilleas Souras for Moroso

The work fuses social engagement with the practical aim of extending protection from water to land.

The resulting waterproof structure is intended as both a shelter and a welcome point for arriving migrants.

“The refugee crisis was simply a set of numbers on the news,” said the artist, who was born in London and now resides in Barcelona.

“But when I picked a jacket up, it stopped being just material. When you hold the jacket in your hand and you smell the sea, you look at things through a different prism and you realise that every jacket represents a human life.”

A pair of Dutch designers has also found a new use for abandoned lifejackets, and boats – working with refugees to turn them into backpacks made using only rivet guns.

The SOS Save Our Souls exhibition, installed at Italian brand Moroso’s Via Pontaccio showroom, is supported by the UN Refugee Agency and the Greek Embassy in Rome.

“The refugees, the homeless, and the less privileged cannot be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ anymore,” added Souras, who hopes his igloos could eventually be used in rescue operations.

“These are global issues that affect us all, and we must try to solve them for everyone’s sake.”

The installation can be seen until Sunday, April 9, in Via Pontaccio showroom. (more in dezeen, fuorisalone)

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One comment

  1. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Not so new idea, bike-messenger bags are often produced out of recycled materials like old seat-belts, -locks and canvas from sailing boats and the waterproof inside you can bake yourself out of 10 plastic-bags but nobody would call this design, as it’s proletarian DIY and cheap.