01 July 2019

IED designers have transformed an abandoned building in Rome into a temporary home for unaccompanied migrant minors, thanks to the help of Ikea and INTERSOS. Primary care and essential services are offered to children and residents with difficulties in the neighbourhood.

Every year, thousands of children and young people land, completely alone, on Italian shores after months of struggle, abuse and an exhausting journey through the desert and then on board makeshift boats. In most cases, their final destination is not necessarily Italy but one of the many European countries where brothers, relatives and friends have already moved before them. People that these minors fleeing war and poverty would like to reach in the hope of building a better life for themselves. 

For more than 25 years, INTERSOS, a non-governmental humanitarian organisation, has assisted victims of violence, conflict and extreme poverty anywhere in the world, providing help, food and shelter, especially to the weakest, such as women and children. In Rome, INTERSOS is involved in the reception of unaccompanied foreign minors in transit, and in 2016, obtained from the Lazio Region the possibility of using an abandoned building (formerly the seat of a primary school) in Rome’s working-class neighbourhood of Torre Spaccata. With the contribution of the young designers of IED Roma and a budget resulting from fund raising and spontaneous donations, the structure was turned into a reception centre for lone minors. 

  The work was the subject of a thesis in 2017 for the three-year Interior Design course, coordinated by lecturer Vincenzo Di Siena. The students formulated several proposals, and one of them, Home for a day, by Giulia Matani and Tiziana Feligioni, was actually put on site and already largely realised, thanks also to the contribution of Ikea, which donated all the furniture. The new INTERSOS24 centre was inaugurated at the end of 2017 and currently offers 22 beds to children and young people, providing primary care and services to minors in transit and neighbourhood residents in need. 

Home for a day is the story of a happy project”, say designers Giulia and Tiziana, “a reception centre that first and foremost is a home, at least for a day. The fundamental concepts are a functional renovation, the composition of furnishings that form and divide the space without raising walls, designed thinking outside the box. A window on the world from which one can look outside; the colours of free play like that of home; small important things to remember, always in sight”

Thanks to donations, and again with the professional contribution of interior designer Giulia Matani, INTERSOS24 is now expanding to the second floor of the building, where migrant women victims of violence will be accommodated. 

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