What makes a place our home? In the 21st century, ‘home’ has become a hybrid state, mobile and global. Many people are ‘at home,’ yet constantly on the move. Today’s digitally infused world has made us omnipresent – so, where do we feel at home? This artwork was produced at the Design School Kolding, where Oyama lead a workshop to the students and took the role as an artistic director. It was presented at the MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2019.

“Even though the places I have lived in and my body has changed a lot through the years, this dress has not changed. It makes me feel at home in my own body.” – Tzlil

A home is a home is a home started from conducting interviews with thirty people in the city of Kolding in Denmark, who lead nomadic or uprooted lives; for example, a lorry driver, a pilot, refugees, IT workers, expats, seasonal migrants and soldiers. This piece investigates how emotional values expressed in a handful of portable objects remind the owners of who they are, and consequently give them a sense of security that may become an alternative form of home. As a result of the findings, the students designed three sculptures and accessories that interpreted the narratives of the individuals.
In the final installation, three illuminated sculptures descended to tell personal transient biographies of three interviewees and how some objects help fill the void of missing homes.


“I work as a courier, delivering express-products all over Europe. I typically get calls to travel at short notice, and two hours later I’ll be on the road for a few days.
I always have a suitcase packed and ready, where I keep my clothes and a duvet. I also have a small ‘party bag’ with funky clothes. Because I travel a lot, I need to feel like everything back home is secure and safe. Home means having good friends and family around, especially dining together. One of the objects that makes any place a home is a bottle of beer. It symbolises social gatherings with my close friends in my house.”


“I’m originally from Taiwan. Before coming to Denmark, I had lived in China for 11 years. After my husband and I got married and had two children, we decided to move to Denmark.
As a family reminder, I wear a necklace made of jade, which I received as a wedding gift from my Grandma. The necklace features a lotus, which means that you will have many children. It also has two fish that are supposed to bring good luck. All these things remind me of my origins and give me a sense of home. For me, home is where my family is.”


“Home isn’t a physical place for me, but a space in which I’m surrounded by special objects. Clothes make up a part of my home. I spent two years in the army where wearing a uniform was mandatory. I also had to wear my hair in a specific way and I wasn’t allowed to wear jewellery. It was very hard for me to have no personal freedom of expression through clothes and dressing up.
This dress is the oldest item I have in my wardrobe. Even though the places I have lived in and my body has changed a lot through the years, this dress has not changed. It makes me feel at home in my own body.”


“We are a family of four (Psychologist/mother, IT worker/father, 2 children) living in a bus, who travel non-stop. Currently we are travelling in Catalonia. Our home is a 10.5 meter long bus, with 25m2 of floor space. It comes with a kitchen, fridge, toilet, and washing machine. No matter where this bus stops and how the surroundings change, we are at home. Since we are living a lifestyle where we are not attached to anything physical, most of the belongings that we carry around from our previous home are practical objects that can be replaced. We create the feeling of home by bringing in the actions that we want to do in our household on the bus.”


“I moved to Denmark in 2001 in my late twenties. I come from Syria. Home is where love is. When there is no more love, the home can also turn into a non-home. Home is the place where you can take off your mask and show your weakness.
Many women in Syria stop caring about themselves, because most of them are hidden at home doing housework. I do not want to be wearing worn down clothes and hide at home. I want to take care of myself, like my grandmother did. She was a beautiful woman.”


“I am a Danish woman in my mid-nineties. I have walked all around the globe with the Danish Home Guards (The Home Guard is akin to scouts for adults and supports the police by helping during natural disasters, aiding with the search of missing persons, and directing traffic at festivals). Home consists of all of my memories. I keep things that remind me of the past and these souvenirs make me happy.”


“I am originally from Kazakhstan. I am a gas engineer and I worked in the petroleum industry. Because of my work, I have lived in Aman, Kuwait, Scotland, Italy and Denmark.
The keys are from my home in Kazakhstan and don’t actually fit into any doors anymore. I have left the house and the locks have been changed, but I can never throw them away. They mean that I can always come back home and that no bridges were burned. Each key has a history and represents a place.”