The shopping mall Wilmersdorfer Arcaden in Berlin asked to repurpose their pre-used plastic mesh advertisement banners for a new social and sustainable purpose.
Berlin estimates that the number of homeless people is growing. Official statistics are unclear, but more and more people end up in the streets of Berlin. This growing number is alarming, but in this growth, many local charity organisations offer help giving food, shelter and clothing.
Clothes donated by the citizens of Berlin are given to the homeless. The homeless need specific clothing that fits the city’s conditions and its weather. Not only do they need good strong clothing and shoes. They also are in high need of backpacks, sleeping bags, mattresses and tents. This is a commodity that is rarely donated at charities and therefore a big need.
The infrastructure/urban landscape of Berlin is not made easy accessible for the homeless to sleep, rest and eat. Many urban places are designed for temporary (short) stay and for people in transition. Urban furniture is also not designed to spend a long stay. Some public benches are even designed against the homeless, adding armrests in the middle part so that they can’t sleep there.
The Matras Bag is a prototype and concept that solves the need of mattresses for the homeless. The Matras bag functions as a bag to carry around and at the same time it is a mattress. The bag consists of a long surface with six compartment pockets you can open with a zipper. In each compartment you can store clothing you carry around. When each compartment is filled with clothing and other soft materials it functions as a mattress that could be used anywhere outside. The homeless can store not only their clothing, but also their precious belongings to keep them close while sleeping.