vik prison

design as a tool of empowerment


This project took place at a prison in Vik, a small town that lies inland from one of the deepest fjords in Norway. The area is very green and the surrounding hills boast an abundance of trees and numerous waterfalls, while the cool fjord rests below. The brief was to develop a collection of objects that tell a story in that context. Another important factor was for the project to be sustainable and realistic, such that the collection can be developed and produced in the prison workshops after our departure.
Things to consider: What is unique to the area (concept), consider the context (prison, the town, landscape, people) and what stories we can build into the objects to make them relevant and unique? Working as two design students and two inmates per group – we came up with the ‘jailbird’ concept – a playful, ironic take on products that are made in such a situation. Our focus was on a collection of 2D and 3D bird house products. With an abundance of wood in the area, this made an appropriate main material choice. In addition, the available material also dictates much of the design and ensures that each product is unique.
Our idea is that the inmates can design and make various bird house/ feeder products and package these to send home as gifts for their children, or families in the local area.


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