Design for the Weary

| 1/15/2009 2:53:03 PM

homeless shelterThe way artist Miriam Kilali sees it, access to beautiful spaces shouldn’t be a perk reserved for the wealthy, or even those who can consistently make rent. Kilali is the visionary behind two high-design homeless shelters, one in Moscow and another in Berlin, with a third hopefully to follow in New York City.

“I knew from experience that beautiful buildings give strength,” she told Spiegel Online, “especially after gruelling times. People living on the street need that, twice over.”

To that end, the Berlin shelter boasts glistening chandeliers, wood floors, original artwork, and designer furniture, according to Spiegel Online, and is a living refutation of critics who thought it “was a waste of money to so extensively decorate a home for men many regard as just alcoholics on the margins of society.”

“It is about getting people to take control of their own lives, creating their own environment,” Kilali said. Residents of the shelter were involved in the redesign throughout the process, from helping to pick the new furnishings to tearing out decrepit, old carpeting. Each resident selected a piece of Kilali’s artwork to hang in his bedroom.

See pictures of the Berlin and Moscow shelters at the website of the organization that runs them, Gebewo.

(Thanks, Design Observer.)

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