Design Academy Eindhoven //
Emmasingel 14 //
Eindhoven // 56111AZ // //


As a topic, displaced people, continues to be a real world wide issue that needs to be addressed by designers. Despite initial thoughts mainly focusing on refugees from war or natural disasters, through discussion and research, students were encouraged to create our own personal definition of what a displaced person was. Paying particular attention to describing the who, what, where, when and how.  Looking beyond conventional definitions, a displaced person may be anyone in society who is isolated, dislocated or otherwise considered without a place. The reasons for displacement were as varied as its drivers whether they were, social, cultural, environmental, political or even financial. In any case, displacement was a result of a change in state, and is often seen as a difficult and upsetting time. How can a place be made to feel like home? Can objects be used to provide comfort? How can we design for adaptability or resilience? And can we create objects that change perceptions? Ranging from physical displacement to concentrating on emotional wellbeing, concepts often centred on empowering the user. How does society treat displaced people; and how designers can influence this interaction?


The aims of the projects included developing awareness, natural skills, sensibility, creating personal definitions and crafting a mind set on these often difficult issues. All of which are a pivotal part of being a humanitarian designer.









Designing for Displaced People given the constraint of 0.3mm aluminium sheeting, focusing on design consciousness. Emphasis on understanding the material properties to generate innovative applications.

(Mark van der Gronden)




A project that began with the experience of being physically displaced for 48 hours. Focusing on making an object, product, system ; network etc. This project looked at disability within society.

(Dick van Hoff)




Research into Displaced People led by a cultural anthropologist specialising in Africa to gain a deeper understanding of displacement. This included case studies of displacement in several African countries, but also allowed students to develop our own personal perspectives on displacement within the Netherlands and our own cultures.

(Erna Beumers)





A project conducted in collaboration with the Solid House Foundation. SHF are a Dutch based foundation hoping to establish new communities in South Sudan- amongst others. We worked upon several briefs of which they provided- based on necessary components needed to develop these new communities. The four topics under consideration were tools for construction, cooking, hygiene and safety.


(Erna Beumers, Irene van Peer)