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Nomadlab is a designresearch project of Emma Ribbens that has been developed as graduation project of the Master Product Design at LUCA School of Arts in Genk. In this research project she explores how refugees children can be strengthen through play. The research  is translated into open source play objects. Hereby is field research crucial for the development of the project and the play objects. To understand the circumstance where this children grew up in Emma went to refugees camp in France (Dunkirk), Greece (Lesbos), Libanon (Beirut) and to asylumncentres in Netherlands (Rotterdam) and Turkey (Istanbul).

The project is called Nomadlab. Lab is the central word, which demonstrates that it is an experimental space where children can discover, explore and play. But the special thing about the lab is that it is a nomadic space that can be set up everywhere where it’s needed.

Why play?

Playing is crucial for the physical, social, mental, emotional and creative development of children. Children who have had the opportunity to play develop many benefits of it. They develop a universal learning ability.


By playing, children maximize their potential through the stimulation of creativity and imagination. Play promotes the fun in children's lives, which is essential for self-esteem and health. Because play promotes brain growth and development, children who are not sufficiently likely to play a reduced brain development and experience flexibility. In addition, children who have not been given the opportunity to play have an increased chance of abnormal behavior.


Play functions as the major means by which children develop intrinsic interests and competencies; learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self-control, and follow rules; learn to regulate their emotions; make friends and learn to get along with others as equals; and experience joy. Playing is essential for children.



-Albert Einstein-

Open design?

Nomadlab is build on the core values ​​of Open Design: adaptable, manufacturable and shareable. 

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