Often the most interesting work at the Interior Design Show in Toronto is done by students, and this year it was particularly good. Best Student booth went to Ryerson School of Interior Design for their Lum.in.drop project. It is a clever storage system for the homeless.
In an effort to plant the seed, to initiate a dialogue regarding this issue, we propose a series of installations located across the city. Our intention for the lum.in.drop network is to shed light on the struggles of the working poor and provide a silent acknowledgement of a growing problem, to make visible the invisible. We want to inspire others to intervene and help those who are marginalized: those whose struggles often go unseen.
Suspended in alleyways, hoisted between buildings, lum.in.drops will create a network of beacons, a series of accessible weatherproof containers that provide those in need with helpful items the average person might take for granted, without the problems of selection or exclusion.
Abstracted from our inspiration, the lantern, the pods would be located high above ground on retractable pulley systems that release them for access and, once used, close and retract up to their secure level, safe from damage from passing traffic.
There are, of course, many unanswered questions. And we are not going to see these on the upper floors of high rise office buildings any time soon. But I teach at Ryerson School of Interior Design, and I am pretty proud to see our students thinking about issues of homelessness and poverty as well as design.