Category: Sava

SAVA / StartNext campaign


The goal of our Start Next Campaign is to raise enough money to make a Workshop with the Whole Camp at ICC Berlin.

We´re happy about any kind of support 🙂


Together with refugees we’re designing a connection system, which can be used to create and (re-) combine different types of furniture– without special skills, tools or expensive material being needed. With this help, refugees can improve their own circumstances through the creation of simple furniture e.g. space for storage or privacy, stools and so on.

The ProblemMost refugee camps in Germany are designed in the same sporadic way: Except for the bunk beds, the temporary, roofless rooms created through gypsum walls do not offer any kind of comfort or space for privacy. But designing the own direkt living space plays an fundamental role for the self-esteem. Personal Furniture therefore is fundamental. Through simple solutions and smart design we want to help refugees being able to improve their own situation.

The Idea
With our system, different kind of furniture can be easily set up, recombined and modularly extended. Simple cable ties serves as the connecting element. Refugees can thereby design their own space of living. Thereby refugees can shape their own living space within the four walls actively on their own without special skills or knowledge, or tools being needed


Why would you support this project?

Currently the refugees are improvising solutions for these problems with what they have: Screws are being unscrewed out of the walls to hang clothes and blankets are being hung around the beds to create space for retrating within the open rooms – another solution is needed.
These solutions hint at the creative potantial already existing. And we want to use it. Our modular system shall enable the refugees using this creative potential in a productive way.

If you also don’t want to just “help”, but offer refugees the ability to active self help, support our project!

SAVA / Furniture for Refugee Camps

The Refugee Camps in Berlin only supply the bare necessities. Besides eight bunkbeds there is often no more furniture. Its very hard for the people to organize themselves  and their stuff in the rooms. Besides that people have a lot of time and -as we found out through research- a lot of creative potential and motivation to do something with their hands.

We wanted to make furniture that is easy to assemble and can be combined in different ways. Two different formats of Chipwood Plate can be combined to either a stool, a box or a shelf-element by using only cable binders as a connector.

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First furniture workshop at ICC Berlin

We tried our prototypes last week at the ICC Berlin.  It was very productive and fun. Explaining the principle of the cable ties with the language barrier was a challenge but it turned out that material says more than words 🙂 After the first two tries the participants of the workshop could teach each other how to build the furniture.


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Easy assembling: Chipboard and cable ties

After showing our first prototypes out of cardboard to the Refugees, we felt like it would be better to work with a more durable and more stable material.

Here are the first Prototypes out of chip board. The system is the same: A modular furniture system that provides the possibility of assembling it differently by using cable ties. Out of two formats you can assemble a box, a shelf and a stool.

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Easy assembling: First prototypes

We feel the answer to our problem lies in establishing and expanding the Concept, that the people who live in Camps get involved in the daily happenings and motivate them to do what they can do best. During our research we always had the feeling that people were motivated and happy to get active and do something.

Our plan to help people improving their living situation by building their own furniture is a first step in that direction. It would be ideal to build up a workshop with actual tools and find a supervisor (there surely is a carpenter under the refugees who could take that role).
For now we will continue on finding a solution for a modular system for which you don’t need tools or professional skills, so everyone can do it .


These are the first Prototypes: Easy assembling furniture, tied together with cable ties. three Products: A Box to hang on the Beds for private stuff, a chair that, if you turn it on its side, can also be used as a part of a shelf.

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Encourage creative potential


On our Visits of the Camp we were shown around by a very nice Volunteer.  Sheintroduced us to a room of eight Syrians, four of which were ready to help us in our project and provided us with insights.
Besides stories over everyday rituals like tea and Syrian home traditions, we were shown the little gimmicks to improve the bare rooms where they are living in at the moment: How they pulled out screws and nails from the walls to make clothing hooks; how you make a wall­mounted phone holder with just duct tape and a piece of wood; where to store the food;

they showed us how they hack the beds to create more privacy and how to shield the light falling onto the upper beds with merely pieces of wood and a blanket to a point where one could create an entire ceiling with just white cloth.

We learnt quickly that the ideas of how to use the space could never occur to someone who has never been in that exact position ­ it was evident that they know best about
the needs and necessities in their very situation and environment.

With the creative potential, the only problem lies in the lack of tools and materials.
To see what would happen if material were available, we made a little experiment where
we brought basics like duct tape, cable ties, string and durable cardboard and looked
what they would think of building intuitively. Despite scepticism in the beginning, it was
beautiful to witness the moment when everyone in the room joined to figure out the best construction for a wall­mounted shelf, built with mortise and tenon joints. The fact the
project was dealt with in such a manner, shows the willingness to engage these kinds of challenges with seriousness and a certain claim to quality and that it is not only about practicality and pure function, for such a shelf could have been easily assembled with
just tape and cardboard. It was fun for us to join the working process and thinking with
them about the construction and making, but more importantly, it was fun for them to be challenged in making something useful and to make that beautifully. Mohammed, who
came up with the idea of using joinery, later joked saying he would love to make such
shelves for the whole camp ­ and we hoped, it was not merely a joke, but a mentality that we could continue to work with. In fact, we left all the spare materials in their rooms and by our next visit they had built another two shelves and a small storage for clothes under one of the beds.


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How can we help people to help themselves? / First Research

The young male refugees are often regarded as healthy and fit, able to work and therefore are not treated as a priority in terms of care. However; of what use could these benefits be if there is nothing to do? In Germany, refugees are not allowed to pick proper work for the first three months of their stay. After that period, a working permit is needed to apply for a job. The permit, however, is only granted if the person is no longer living in a refugee camp. Needless to say, the said three months often pass without anything really happening and three months slowly turn into six months and into a year

­ during which there is nothing to do.

We are currently working at the Internationales Congress Centrum (ICC) in Berlin
­ a former congress center that has recently been turned into a refugee camp. Even with the circumstances being unfavourable, the atmosphere at the ICC is quite the opposite: The interaction between the refugees and the staff and security is remarkably free and friendly. Volunteers playing with children; refugees and security joking around and everybody is eating at the same table. There is no hint of the provider/receiver­dilemma that you would witness in other establishments.
We’ve been warmly welcomed by the people and the relationships have gradually grown more personal since our first visit.

_ Excerpt of the Edgeryders Article