Shoppers at Ikea's Norwegian flagship store in Slependen must have been shocked when they happened upon a showroom that didn't look at all like the retailer's typically sleek and minimalist rooms. Instead, this particular showroom had cinder block walls and scarce cooking supplies — the replica of a real home in Jaramana, Syria.
The chilling "25 Square Meters of Syria" installation ran in October and came from a partnership between Ikea and the Red Cross with design help from the creative agency POL. In order to create the showroom, members from the Norwegian Red Cross visited Rana, a woman living in Jaramana, and toured her apartment. Rana lives with nine other people — three of whom are her own children, one of whom is an orphan taken in by the family — in the two-bedroom apartment. Plastic covers the windows where glass should be and the family shares a few mattresses on the floor.
In a press release, a spokesperson for Ikea said, "At the one place where you think of and plan the future, the apartment served as a physical reminder of how lucky we are and how easy it is to help." In lieu of Ikea's usual price tags, the showroom was filled with tags that tell Rana's story, as well as the stories of other Syrians they encountered. Where the price is usually listed, Ikea featured instructions on how to donate. CNN reports that the effort raised 22 million euros to support the Red Cross's efforts in Syria.
Learn more about the devastating Syrian civil war here and check out a video and photos from the replica ahead.