Republique Sans Papiers

‘Republique Sans Papiers’, a state on the water. The refugees who are refused at the borders of Europe live on discarded containerships. This extreme and detailed devised scenario acts as an catalyst for a critical examination of the european refugee policy. An essay about state, freedom of travel and refugees plus a concept for the new dystopian republic form the theoretical base – a map and two plans give detailed information about the organisation and infrastructure.

The territory of the ‘Republique Sans Papiers’ consists of discarded container ships like the ‘Colombo Express’ which anchor along the axis of the exclusive economic zones of Malta, Italy, Greece and Libya. The formerly biggest container motor ship of the world has a load capacity of 8,749 20-Feet-Containers. With 335.47 m in length, 42.94 m width and a height of 60.5 m it equals three soccer pitches. It could accommodate 50,000 people – the average yearly amount of refugees between 2006 and 2010. Additional ships are added according to requirements. In the long-term they will form a defensive wall around the european waters.

[ July 2011 — Information Design / Strategy / Brain / Print ]

The ‘Republique Sans Papiers’ starts with a base ship, the ‘port d’attache’. Additional ships are added according to requirements. 

Republique Sans Papiers - An Essay about the state, nationality and the freedom of movement

Republique Sans Papiers - Port D' Attache, Container ship, Colomba Express

A possible base ship, the ‘Colombo Express’


Republique Sans Papiers - container unit as living area
Possible setup of a living block. An individual number based on the BAY-ROW-TIER principle enables orientation on board.


Republique Sans Papiers - container for different purposes on board

Each ship is self-sustaining and offers living and working areas 

The boats with
refugees catched
by coastal guards
or FRONTEX* staff
could easily be
convoyed to the
state territory

*European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union 


Republique Sans Papiers - A map of the most common migration routes in the mediterranean sea
The map shows the (main) migration routes


Republique Sans Papiers – Container units

The concept of self-sustaining ship modules has been elaborated on the basis of the ‘Colombo Express’.


Republique Sans Papiers - The container is used for multiple purposes
The containers can be individualized for all intended purposes


Republique Sans Papiers - Infographic showing the amount of refugees arriving by boat between 2006 and May 2011
The graphic shows the relationship between officially registered refugees arriving by boat at Europe’s coasts and the yearly budget of FRONTEX


Republique Sans Papiers - Expired combat rations from the european armies serve as basic catering on board
Expired combat rations from the european armies serve as basic catering on board


Republique Sans Papiers - Detail of essay
Detail of essay


Republique Sans Papiers - 20' container as the setting for the presentation of the concept
A 20′ container as setting for the presentation of the concept.


Republique Sans Papiers - Presentation of the concept in a 20' container.