Skip to main content
National Runner Up

All Seasons Protective Aid

ASPA offers shelter support for the growing number of displaced people globally through a multi-functional solution that adapts to a wide range of environments and emergency situations.

  • All Seasons Protective Aid - A shelter system for displaced people.

  • ASPA offers a wide variety of uses for those displaced in urban or rural environments.

    ASPA offers a wide variety of uses for those displaced in urban or rural environments.

  • It is waterproof, breathable, windproof, light, durable, recyclable and affordable to produce.

  • The system can utilise recycled, natural or found materials to thermally adjust for comfort & safety

  • The are a wide variety of intuitive uses for ASPA, making it an indispensible tool for basic needs.

  • Selected sketches, prototype making and testing images.

What it does

ASPA is a textile product to be used as protective cover or matting, acting as an insulating barrier from the elements. The system allows for various configurations aiding in creating more comfortable living/sleeping environments, whilst maintaining low cost.

Your inspiration

Our idea was originally developed in response to a design competition in 2019 by Italian NGO Emergency. Emergency identified, in years of field work, the need for innovative solutions for people that are displaced by war and natural disasters, particularly products that are easy to distribute and can be implemented in various environments. After winning this competition, we continued developing this idea further as we were offered to work with UNOPS and Sony on projects responding to UN’s SDGs. The interest and support we received, by Emergency, UNOPS and Sony, made it clear that more emergency solutions to human displacement were needed.

How it works

ASPA is a 2 layer textile product, with the principal material being Tyvek, a lightweight, durable, breathable, windproof, water-repellent and cheap material that is 100% recyclable. The system features chambers that can be filled to adjust its level of thermal insulation at any moment of the year. This can be achieved with the use of a range of found or recycled materials as stuffing, such as dry grass, hay, leaves, moss, paper, packaging, cardboard, newspapers, clothing, wool and similar fibers. The chambers trap air, which acts as a natural barrier to extreme temperatures of heat or cold. When temperatures are mild and the level of protection needed from them is minimal, the layering system allows for the tarp to be flat and packable, whilst still maintaining its waterproofness, breathability and durability. Currently the method of closure for the chambers are stackable press studs, as they are strong, and also easily removed for sustainable disposal.

Design process

When approaching this project, we focused on fulfilling the basic needs of those in unstable, temporary or potentially dangerous situations. After extensive research into the existing product solutions that are included in humanitarian aid kits, emergency shelters seemed to be an area that had good potential for improvement. We both have a strong interest in technical textiles and quickly landed on Tyvek, an affordable, recyclable and weather-proof material. The way this material responded to punctures, abrasion, water, wind and other wear and tear conditioned greatly the design outcome and our process. We made a test section of the shelter system and submitted the project to the EMERGENCY NGO, ‘Design Against War’ competition in September 2019, for which we won the product category. During this time we both had begun a Master Degree, and our university had proposed a project that involved a collaboration with UNOPS and Sony. We decided to continue working on the project with their support. We quickly re-iterated our design, aiming to streamline the manufacturing process by removing as many unnecessary components as possible, which also resulted in a much lighter product. This was the first full-scale prototype, and allowed us to really understand the usability of the shelter.

How it is different

The benefit of ASPA, compared to existing solutions, is that it is more adaptable to weather and environment conditions. The possibility to adjust the insulation means it is not only appropriate for a wide range of locations, but that it can also adapt to varying conditions in the same location. We noticed that often ‘short-term’ emergency solutions remain in use for long periods and are rarely designed to cope with this extended use. Our solution responds to this problem by providing something that adapts, lasts longer and, by offering many configurations, always has a useful purpose. By making use of local resources as primary insulation, ASPA can be packed down smaller than most insulating products. This contributes to lower the costs of transportation and increases the speed of distribution. ASPA is also designed with recyclability in mind. This is uncommon in the current offering of emergency products and certainly a difference worth considering.

Future plans

Our aim for this project is to find and collaborate with experts in procurement for humanitarian projects and go through a testing period to further refine the design of our product, both aiming at displacement emergencies due to natural disasters and conflicts, but also homelessness in the urban environment. It would be beneficial to involve DuPont, the manufacturer of the material we use, in the process, and possibly even a manufacturer of outdoor products. This will provide insights in manufacturing possibilities and recycling options, and would offer these companies the chance to be involved in a project with strong humanitarian focus.


This project won the ‘Design Against War’ competition by NGO EMERGENCY in Sept 2019, for innovative solutions for those who are displaced by war. We were invited by the UNOPS team in Lund to pitch our project for the Global Innovation Challenge, and we were then selected to participate in their Boo[s]t Camp in Oct 2020.

End of main content. Return to top of main content.

Select your location