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Why IKEA Put a Replica of a Syrian Refugee’s House in One of Its Stores

News RealClearLife Staff
A look at the Syrian home installation at IKEA Norway (POL/Ikea Norway)
A look at the Syrian home installation at IKEA Norway (POL/Ikea Norway)

 

Walk into any IKEA anywhere, and you’ll know that you have to walk through the entire store in order to get out the exit door. Even if you’re there for a single spoon. With this in mind, IKEA’s flagship store in Norway recently put up an installation that they knew no patron would be able to miss.

Amongst the demo furniture and rooms that make an IKEA store look the way it does, the company built a standalone display entitled “25 Square Meters Syria.” There, in the middle of the store, was an exact replica of an actual Syrian refugee’s home from the suburbs of Damascus. The woman has a real name, too—Rana—and four children, whom she cares for in an apartment that has no mattresses or blankets. (She and her family fled there in search of safety.)

Once inside, the installation was meant as a reality check for many shoppers (POL/Ikea Norway)
Once inside, the installation was meant as a reality check for many shoppers (POL/Ikea Norway)
Ikea tags told Rana and her family's story (POL/Ikea Norway)
Ikea tags told Rana and her family’s story (POL/Ikea Norway)

 

The installation, designed by Oslo-based advertising agency POL, was part of a fundraising campaign by the Norwegian Red Cross and IKEA, allowing customers to be interact with a home in Syria, bringing to light the suffering of its citizens, who’ve been caught in the middle of a bloody civil war since 2011. Rana’s story was told on the ubiquitous IKEA price-tags (see below) attached to items in the makeshift home, and told customers how they could donate to the relief effort.

Syrian Home Installation at IKEA Norway
The price tags also served as donation slips for the Norwegian Red Cross (POL/Ikea Norway)

 

The installation, along with a greater fundraising campaign, helped raise more than $23 million. For more on the ingenious campaign, click here. Watch a video about it below.