The United Nations set World Refugee Day as an annual international day to honour the displaced around the world. Every year on 20 June, the world celebrates ‘the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution’. It is a day, the UN explains, that offers an occasion to build empathy and understanding, and to recognise refugees’ resilience in rebuilding their lives. 

To raise awareness this year, Danish brand Lucie Kaas asked designers from 11 international studios a simple question: what does ‘home’ mean to you? The answers came in video format, as part of a digital campaign on the company’s social platforms. The project features Norm Architects, Christian Troels, Paper Collective and Space Copenhagen from Denmark; Italian designers Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Studiopepe; Hong Kong-based Lim + Lu designers Elaine Lu and Vincent Lim; Slash Objects and Søren Rose Studio from the US; Masquespacio from Spain; as well as Sebastian Herkner from Germany; and Akuko Studio from the UK.

What happens when we have to leave that place where we have built a life?

The personal reflections have been published on Lucie Kaas’ social channels throughout the month of June. ‘Fundamental to the design industry’s existence is the reality that we all have a home to live in,’ reads the project’s introduction. ‘But what happens when we have to leave that place where we have built a life?’ 

‘What I value most about a home is that it is the centre, it’s the starting point,’ says Christian Troels.

‘A home is about feeling a sense of belonging and feeling a connection with space,’ echoes American designer Arielle Assouline-Lichten of Slash Objects. 

‘Seeing [refugees] cutting their own roots, running risks of dying, just driven by the need and wish for a better and safer life is a situation I cannot even imagine, because it’s a horrible and sad scenario,’ says Sebastian Herkner.

Similarly, Søren Rose⁠ reflects that ‘words like devastated, ruined, traumatised, crushed, shattered’ come to mind when thinking about having to lose one’s home.

London-based designer Judith Achumba-Wollenstein⁠ worked on an interior project in early 2021, a home for a family of Syrian refugees. She said: ‘Something I used to do as a child was that I was really attached to furniture items because that was the only consistent thing in the homes that we lived in. The thought of not even having that or anything would be devastating – because the objects that we use are extensions of ourselves.’

The project was created in collaboration with the Danish Refugee Council, an umbrella organisation that supports refugees in Denmark. Twenty per cent of Lucie Kaas’ profits are currently being donated to the organisation as part of the initiative. §