Canadian design firm Molo has created a cheap and comfortable housing innovation for disaster relief situations. Dubbed "softshelter," the system has been designed to create personal space within in a communal shelter, thus providing individuals or families with some privacy during a time of hardship.

To illustrate the practicality of the system, a member of the Molo team has volunteered to camp out in a softshelter module within the Molo workshop space for a period of several weeks. "By occupying the shelter as it is being designed, we will be able to make discoveries that allow us to further refine a system that, hopefully, will one day be able to assist in disaster relief in an immediate and tangible way," the company states.

The softshelter modules are made from 100 percent recycled materials designed for re-use over a long period if time. The flexible walls pack flat, suitable for fast and cost effective shipping, whilst in a matter of minutes the softwalls can be unpacked and expanded to create walls and rooms. "With 1-2 people, private rooms for individual families can be created within minutes without tools or experience," explains Molo. "The softwall quickly and easily expands to create the four walls of the space and the end panels are connected magnetically to each other."

The Molo team has also added small touches to make the relief shelter feel that little bit more personal. Individuals can personalize their space by utilizing features such as a magnetic clipping system for pictures or photos; a flower vase; a Tyvek hanger that allows for personal items to be hung on the walls; a water-resistant Tyvek hanger for wet items; and an LED light which can be centrally positioned in the event of blackouts or during night time.

The softshelter will soon be available as a fully deployable system.