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Urban nomads

February 03 2010
Instant Housing Instant Housing
A German artist fuses art, architecture and design to create Instant Housing

A German artist has been fusing art, architecture and design to create innovative life systems that can be used by homeless people. Winfried Baumann's creations, dubbed ‘Urban Nomads', take into account the special conditions rough sleepers live in and can be managed by one person. His collection of works includes Instant Housing (small mobile homes), Instant Cooking (nomadic mobile kitchen), Instant Help (medical help for homeless people), Instant Exhibition (mobile living and exhibition systems) and Instant Shelter (emergency aid).

While some of Baumann's objects are merely art pieces, many have been bought by homeless magazines in Germany and given to homeless people. "The Instant Objects are working in different ways," Mr Baumann told The Pavement. "Some are just art objects to show the challenging situation of fringe groups and homeless people, while others are sponsored by donations and have been given to welfare services. They can be given to people who need for them."

Mr Baumann, who has been involved in this project since 2001, says that art cannot solve the problem of homelessness. His creations are not a nostrum, but act as an important contribution to the public argument over the issue. "Art has a social responsibility, so this is why I deal a lot with corporate and social themes. On my trips to the big metropolises I always kept track on the contact to homeless people and figured out that they have the need for a place they can call home. Even if it's small, it's huge for them. As a result, I started working and developing Instant Housing objects."

Many of Mr Baumann's objects have been shown in exhibitions in Belgium, France and Italy. He says that homeless people's reactions have been very positive. "They also give me input and advice for improvements and variations," he adds.