Biomimetic Design : How the Natural World inspires Home Technology

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Liebherr's Fully Integrated Appliance Range. An open fridge in a pink kitchen

Liebherr’s fully integrated appliance range is inspired by nature.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, nature is a huge source of inspiration to me when it comes to home interiors. Over the past two years, my content here has focused increasingly on how we can bring nature, natural light, natural materials, natural textures, and natural colour palettes into the home environment. It’s taken me a few years, but I have discovered that bringing nature into the built environment (biophilic design) is good for my own wellbeing and mental health. I first wrote about biophilic design in 2019 and ever since I have been obsessed.

Liebherr’s Fully Integrated Appliance Range

But nature can be brought into our homes in more ways than simply through the decor, which is what I have mostly covered with my content. What I haven’t yet touched upon is biomimicry. This is the practice of looking to nature for inspiration to solve design problems. Designers can learn from and mimic the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges. By using nature as a mentor, innovators are turning to biomimicry to create unique products that are efficient, effective and regenerative.

This is exactly what the innovators at Liebherr, Europe’s largest privately owned manufacturer of refrigerators and freezers, have done with one of the features of their new range of fully integrated appliances for 2021. When it comes to design, Liebherr is constantly looking at how it can meet its customers’ needs and exploring the intersection of biology and technology is just one way that Liebherr seeks to innovate. This is particularly apparent when you look at the HydroBreeze functionality of Liebherr’s fully integrated appliance range.

Biomimicry in Action

Hydrobreeze

Liebherr’s design team was inspired by the Salinas Valley in California and the way in which the weather system ensures that the crops that grow there are are kept hydrated, succulent and crisp. Due to the proximity of the Salinas Valley to the cool Pacific Ocean, in the summer, a fine humid mist covers the valley and fields. This prevents vegetables and fruit growing there from drying out. Inspired by this, the Liebherr team has created the HydroBreeze functionality which releases a cold mist into the refrigerator compartment, which then covers the fruit and vegetables within like a balm.

Integrated Freshness Technologies

Freshness is a question of technology for Liebherr because they know from nature that storing groceries in ideal climatic conditions ensure extra-long freshness and storage time and helps to avoid food waste. Liebherr’s fully integrated appliance range is packed full of freshness technologies.

Duo-Cooling

Duo cooling is the basic technology that is integrated into all Liebherr fridge-freezers. This means that the fully integrated range benefits from two completely separate refrigeration circuits ensuring that there is no exchange of air between the fridge and freezer compartment, so there is no drying out of food and no odour transfer.

EasyFresh

The airtight EasyFresh compartment is ideal for fruit and vegetables. This compartment is kept at the same temperature as the main fridge compartment and keeps lettuce fresh and crisp even after 7 days.

BioFresh

When you need to store your food is a cooler compartment the airtight BioFresh drawer is ideal. Food is stored just above 0c, which is significantly cooler than rest of the appliance. This provides the perfect humidity levels for storing fruit and vegetables or meat and dairy.

Freezer Tray

Liebherr's fully integrated appliance range. A freezer drawer full of berries and herbs.

The innovative freezer tray is ideal for storing herbs, fruit and other sensitive foods that need to be frozen individually for easy portioning.

A Focus on Customer Needs & Ease of Use

Nature has proven to be a big inspiration for Liebherr’s fully integrated appliance range but the design team has also focused on the needs of their customers and designs products that make their lives easier. They believe that a fridge should support us and be simple to use and as convenient as possible.

All four series in Liebherr’s fully integrated appliance range offer innovations and features that go above and beyond what you would expect from a fridge. Pure, Plus, Prime and Peak get increasingly sophisticated and classy as you work your way up the series, with added functions and features designed to make life easier.

OpenStage Drawers

For me, one of the most impressive features of this range after the mist function has to be the OpenStage drawers. Inspired by display cases in fine delicatessens, they showcase all your food items at a glance. This provides maximum clarity regarding the contents of your fridge and is also so much more ergonomic to use. The fully extendable glass shelves make it much easier to access your food items without having to reach deep inside the fridge.

The pull-out drawers also have a self-closing mechanism with soft damping making them glide shut effortlessly once you have retrieved what you need.

VarioSafe & VarioBoxes

Liebherr's fully integrated appliance range. A shallow fridge drawer full of smaller food items.

I don’t know about you but I always find that small items get lost so easily in the fridge, hidden behind larger and often getting overlooked until it’s too late and they have exceeded the use by date. This is a problem of the past thanks to Liebherr’s fully integrated series.

VarioSafe is perfect for storing small items and making them easy to access. The VarioBoxes are two pullout boxes in the door which provide optimal space for storing smaller items.

Divisible Glass Shelf

Liebherr's fully integrated appliance range. A glass shelf is divided in two to make space in the fridge for a tall bottle.

Another problem with fridges I find is not having the height on any one shelf for some of the taller items that you don’t necessarily want to store in the door. Liebherr has solved this by integrating a divisible glass shelf which can be made retracted to make space for taller containers or carafes. It can be operated with one hand and .

Other shelves are easily adjustable and can be highered or lowered without removing them entirely from the fridge. Thanks to a clever notch system, the shelves can be easily adjusted even when fully loaded.

Liebherr's Fully Integrated Appliance Range. An open fridge in a modern kitchen.

Integrated Smart Technology

Liebherr believes that smart functions can enable a fridge to help behind the scenes and so designs their products to think for themselves whenever possible. For example, the appliance can remember drinks that have been forgotten in the freezer thanks to the BottleTimer function so no more exploding bottles.

Holiday mode can be enabled to save energy when you know that you won’t be around for a while and Night mode will dim the internal lighting to a more comfortable level so as not to blind you in the dead of night.

The appliances can come supplied with or retrofitted with a SmartDeviceBox which connects the fridge to your existing smart home environment. This allows it to be operated via Alexa or online services like IFTTT.

The appliance can also send you important status messages sent directly to your mobile phone. For example, DoorAlarm will alert you if your fridge has been left open.


What do you think of Liebherr’s range of fully integrated appliances? Are you as impressed by the way the design team have taken inspiration from nature to create this new range?

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