IKEA has teamed up with the Red Cross and creative agency POL to build a replica of a real Syrian home inside its Slependen flagship store in Norway. Instead of its typical aspirational pop-up-home, where customers experience a room-sized installation of domestic designs, the apartment is built as a replica of the real home of a women named Rana and her family of 9 in Damascus, Syria. The iconic IKEA-posters and price tags told the story of how people live, conveying their lack of food, medicine, and clean water, and to give information on how to donate to Red Cross.


“Having visited Rana and learned how she and her family survive outside Damascus, we wanted to rebuild her home as truthfully as we could,” POL art director Snorre Martinsen told us. “It would have been easier to just put up wallpaper, but it wouldn’t have felt the same. People who had fled war themselves have told us, ‘This is how it feels.’ ‘I remember this.’ “


The installation was displayed for two weeks last month. It was seen by some 40,000 visitors weekly, and the campaign raised some 22 million euros for the Red Cross’ efforts in Syria.

“We already had a lot of footage from within Syria, but no matter how emotional it was, nothing got close to the experience of visiting people in a war zone,” says Martinsen. “We realized we could give Norwegians that experience. Placing a Syrian home next to all the Scandinavian homes was obviously a brave move from the warehouse, but it made it clearer than any TV commercial how crucial it is to donate and help.” 


video courtesy by POL