Mind & Matter


Multifunctional Relief Container

Submit A Comment | View Comments

UNICEF relief container proposed by Psychic Factory.

The effort to provide more effective deliveries of provisions after a natural disaster must consider the packaging itself, which typically contributes a significant amount of waste. South Korea-based Psychic Factory has proposed a reusable food and water container for UNICEF that is reminiscent of a LEGO brick. Each container may be donated with potable water, rice, or other necessary staple. Once the provisions are delivered and consumed onsite, the containers may be filled with sand and stacked—like life-size LEGO bricks–to create walls for new shelters.

This preliminary proposal raises questions that must be addressed in subsequent stages of development related to the type of polymer used, its load-supporting capability, weight, recyclability, protection from UV degradation, etc. Simple recommendations must also be provided regarding details for wall foundations, headers for openings, and roofing—without which the bricks won’t provide much use.

Nevertheless, this clever proposal demonstrates the extent to which the thoughtful reconsideration of packaging waste can generate provocative and pragmatic design ideas.



Be the first to add a comment to this post.

Comment on this Post

Post your comment below. If you wish, enter a username and password though they are not required. Please read our Content Guidelines before posting.


Enter the code shown in the image

Username is optional


Enter a password if you want a username


About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.