Italian Prisoners Design Sleek 'Micro-Apartment'

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If we’ve learned anything from prison movies, we know prisoners can make almost anything out of the few objects they use every day.

Now inmates in a high-security Italian prison have partnered with designers to create Freedom Room, a mini-apartment with the same dimensions as the cells where the prisoners live, Gizmodo reports.  

Designers Aldo Cibic, Tommaso Cora Marco, and Tortoioli Ricci, who run Cibic Workshop, introduced the 9-by-13-foot housing models last week at Milan’s weeklong design festival.

These models could be used in actual prisons or other tight spaces, like New York City apartments. Design-savvy prisoners built the 117-square-foot prototype at the Spoleto prison, making multifunctional furniture out of everyday objects to make a space that could become a gym, library, office, kitchen, and bedroom.

In these micro-housing units, a stool can transform into an oven, a bed becomes a closet, a can becomes an antenna, and a table becomes a gym, according to the project’s press release.

The tiny housing modules also have creative storage options, including shelves made out of cigarette cartons. 

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These designs could revolutionise prison life if they were actually implemented, according to Luisa Castellano, former director of low-security Bollate Penitentiary in Milan.

“The important thing is to avoid a situation in which prisons are overcrowded containers, crammed full with the poor and the destitute, tending to promote deviant behaviour and delinquency instead of curbing it,” she writes in the Freedom Room book.

Here are a few more glimpses of what prison life — or just life in a tiny apartment — could look like.

Freedom Room

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Find more photos and information over at the Freedom Room website, which has sections in English and Italian.

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