hwang kim: urban homeless cocoon
hwang kim: urban homeless cocoon
mar 03, 2011

hwang kim: urban homeless cocoon

cocoon – portable urban shelter for homeless

korean product designer and student of the royal college of art hwang kim seeks to help the homeless population by distributing a folding portable urban shelter made from cardboard. the project entitled ‘cocoon’ is made from pre-folded single ply cardboard with plastic buttons that can be reduced to a smaller, flattened and more transport friendly shape.

the ‘cocoon’ project is a practical solution to providing a basic human need that comes from kim’s philosophical backing in universal design: valuing people first and creating products that enable people to live a better life. the private shelter aims to give a little pleasure while facing the hash conditions of being homeless.

hwang kim: urban homeless cocoon homeless in seoul, south korea

hwang kim: urban homeless cocoon paper mock up process

hwang kim: urban homeless cocoon 2d draft and manufactured cocoon

hwang kim: urban homeless cocoon distribution

hwang kim: urban homeless cocoon diagram of use

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. we have already acquired many submissions, so keep on the lookout for more of your projects to be published in the coming days!

  • good idea! covered what we don’t need to see..
    next time sick…

    FEEl says:
  • congratulations for such an amazing concept!

    with breathing holes like a silkworm box, this designer has thought in everything…besides, that box contributes to the aesthetics of the city, hiding the dirt of this subspecies… seems a giuliani’s design!

    panda de memos!

    josita says:
  • why do we want to hide what we are partially responsible for? the product looks good and very aesthetical but a little bit like a coffin too. designers shouldn´t hide the problems, they should create a new interests and attention.

    daniel says:
  • hey…nice coffin!

    a d k v says:
  • He is not hiding the problem. Precisely, exposes the problem! It is a sensitive joke, a ridiculous answer to a ridiculous problem that we all have
    as a society.

    Jico Reggae says:
  • I agree with some comments above that this looks like a coffin… And when a homeless person freezes in this in the winter we will not know if they are alive or dead until they thaw out in the summer.

    xo says:
  • Kids will be setting fire to these or picking them up and leaving them in the streets or rivers. And if the ‘resident’ wets themselves or throws up then they’ll have to buy another one. It is a coffin so I guess local councils will be happy about that; if somebody dies (or is killed) in one of these they can just load up society’s problem and bury it without having to face, or deal with, the human aspect contined within.

    Lombax says:
  • if you are homeless and freezing, the only thing you’ll not worry about is aesthetic. I think it’s not about hiding problems we don’t want to see. I think it’s about providing a shelter, even if it’s made of cardboard, even if it’s not the ideal. if we are not bothered to see a homeless person sleeping on the street without the cocoon, and we are bothered to see the same homeless into one of these, there is something wrong with us.
    sorry for my bad english.

    daniella says:
  • I do not understand all the cynical responses to this project. It seems that it was conceived out of genuine concern. No one has done anything like this before because they probably foresaw the hecklers. I think this designer is being brave and kind.

    It’s not like these little shelters are meant to replace or hide the problem of homelessness. No one has a solution on the tip of their tongue so in the mean time we should be able to offer the homeless population any comfort they can afford.

    Christina says:
  • I also think that the designer intention was good, seems that he didn’t want to hide something but offering a shelter with an “easy to find” material.
    But on a technical point of view it could be analyzed and discussed (too closed, is it really warm?,a person could breath porperly?etc…)

    ambini says:
  • wont this just create more waste on our streets, i mean as a concept its ok but some of these things will be left behind on the streets to be vandalised.

    tyrone says:
  • I think you need to have been homeless to appreciate the cocoon!!!

    The concept is great not just for the homeless but also in emergency situations and for camping.

    Johnnie Autard says:
  • christina, don’t use CYNICAL if you don’t understand the meaning

    josita says:
  • how can a homeless be able to fold it when drunk?

    benemérita says:
  • You designers had better focus your intelect in in simpler things (flower vases, for instance) if you’re not able to treat the most serious issues. Don’t be snob, we’re dealing with persons in troubles, their main problem isn’t the lack of a cool designed shack.

    ger says:
  • @benemerita Slandering the entire homeless population does not solve anything.
    Most of the comments in this thread are downright disgraceful. This designer is trying to solve real problems that real people are facing outside your window right now and all you are doing is trashing him for actually making an effort. What have you done that gives you the right to go this far beyond simple constructive critique?

    ocelot says:
  • I’d like to see something similar that doesn’t require the cardboard. The reason homeless people use cardboard is it’s free, stores throw it out all the time. How about a little baggie of plastic buttons so the occupant can build their own shelter from available materials?

    Sort of like makedo only cheap.


    Nermal says:
  • @ocelot

    you don’t understand anything at all

    i was being ironic, not trying to “slander” homeless people, quite the contrary, I was trying to break stereotypes as “homeless drunk” or the “homeless in need of a magical design for living”

    bénemérita says:
  • Packaging of the cheap wine they drunk is awful, we should improve it too.

    ger says:
  • nobody has done something like that before, maybe isnt perfect, but is the start for new steps to solve this real problem
    we should ask first some of the homeless if they like or not.

    yeah says:
  • The homeless are not dogs, or vermin and should not be treated like such. Placing them to rest, under a treat in a dog kennel is not cool. Personally, I think it’s a waste of money and time. Why doesn’t the designer invest more time in using their skills on homeless shelters etc.

    Audrey says:
  • it is a noble idea & design to a global issue that no one seems to be able to resolve or minimize.

    art4rm says:
  • PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS BY CHOISE. Just think about it for a second. Imagine you loose your job and you don’t have a family to support you.
    Wold you give up and live on the street? or.. Wold you fight to get your life back? It’s so much easier letting others treat you.
    Try offering a job to a homeless.

    Raimas says:
  • Josita, how would you define “cynical”? I understand what it means and I am not sure why you commented the way you did. The following is the definition via dictionary.com which is the meaning I intended.

    – distrusting or disparaging the motives of others.
    – bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

    Christina says:
  • I for one think this is a very good idea. I don’t know why people are so skeptical of this. It seems to be one of the few ways to help homeless people. It amazes me how people can start an argument in comments over a simple urban homeless cocoon when noone else seems to know what to do. Just be quiet please you ignorant few.

    Anonymous says:
  • Question Number One: Where does the homeless person get the money to buy one of these things?

    Question Number Two: How weatherproof are they? Are they impervious to rain, hail, floods, snow, freeze, heat waves, and so on.
    Question Number Three: Will they prevent authorities or other people from moving them, sitting on them, squashing them, burning them, kicking them, running over them with vehicles, and all the horrible things that people can do to those they love to hate?

    Rosita says:
  • 8====D

    yeah! says:
  • I hope it’s cheap because… homeless people are homeless for a reason. Just sayin’.

    Sarah says:
  • I personally Like the Urban Caterpillar that “thewhodio” posted.

    Secondly: Ppl choose to be homeless? You have got to be kidding me…yes this goes out to “Sarah” and “Raimas”. I would love to know where you two are from because you speak like you have no idea what living a hard life is like.
    Most people that are homeless do not have any level of higher education, therefore are unable to find a reasonable job. If they lose their home and have no where else to stay how would you expect someone to be able to find a place to shower, eat and look presentable for something like an interview?
    A homeless shelter? Yeah try to go to a homeless shelter looking halfway decent and spending the night without being robbed or physically hurt. And lets just say this person who lost their job did have a college education, in today’s economy it’s hard for someone to find a decent paying job with a bachelors degree. If you didn’t know in major cities (where homelessness is predominantly high) a bachelor’s degree is becoming equivelant to a high school degree, so an associate’s degree doesn’t mean jack. And if this person doesn’t have enough experience because they’ve only been working at the same place, in the same position, for over 7 years it will be even harder for them to find a job because they may not hold the diverse experience necessary in today’s work force. And if I wanted to I can go on and on about how people do not CHOOSE to be homeless, but I don’t have time to keep preaching to you two.

    Don’t knock people for trying help others, you’re obviously not doing it, so someone has to.

    “If you judge people, you have no time to love them” – Mother Teresa

    D-Bo says:
  • wait, they have to buy this!?! Why would a homeless person BUY this? Would they have other immediate concerns, like food?

    somsomy says:
  • very good Hwang

    youjin says:
  • Un beleivable………………..


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