Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend? I’ve got an exciting post for you today to kick start the new week. As part of my coverage of the Electrolux Design Lab competition, I am happy to announce that the competition is officially open for submissions as of today, Monday February 18th.
Design students and recent design graduates are now encouraged to submit an idea and a sketch of their own innovative design solution for future households. This year’s theme is Inspired Urban Living and in this short video Thomas Johansson, Design Director at Electrolux Design, explains that urbanisation will undoubtedly have an effect on the way we live in years to come and therefore Electrolux is inviting students to envision the future in order to develop meaningful, relevant, innovative and unique solutions.
Through this competition, Electroux Design Lab is looking for design solutions that focus on three key areas: Social Cooking, Natural Air and Effortless Cleaning.
The focus on social cooking for this year’s Electrolux Design Lab competition theme has been inspired by the growing trend for cooking and entertaining at home as a pastime. Throughout the 10 year history of Electrolux Design Lab the judging panel has seen many innovative concepts that aide the cooking experience and those of you who are thinking of entering the competition this year should take a look at some of the previous entries for inspiration.
Top: The Snail (2010) by Peter Alwin of India
The Snail was the winner of the 2011 Design Lab competition. It is a portable heating and cooking device based on magnetic induction processes. The concept has been designed to stick directly onto a pot, pan, or mug to heat the contents, reducing the amount of space required for conventional cooking and adding portability to the process. Powered by a high density sugar crystal battery, The Snail converts energy from the sugar, heating up a coil to conduct the magnetic induction process to the utensil. Integrated sensors can automatically adjust the time and temperature while a simple touch sensitive display with interface helps to monitor the process.
Bottom Left: HydroSphere (2006) by Kleber Puchaski of the UK
HydroSphere is a transparent, clear sphere that allows consumers to grow their own herbs, small fruits and vegetables in their kitchen. Built from polycarbonate and powered by a solar panel, this concept is self-sustaining, taking its energy directly from nature and transferring it to the internal light system. A central growth lamp automatically sets the right temperature and light levels to encourage active and healthy results.
Bottom Right: The Mobile Induction Plate (2011) by Tommi Moilanen of Finland
This smart induction hot plate was a finalist in the 2011 Design Lab. It is a compact solution for those constantly on the go. The concept is controlled by a smart phone app and can be easily hung on the wall when charging the battery after usage. The smart-phone app is designed to be used with intelligent food packaging where NFC-tags provide instructions on how to heat the food properly. The smart-phone app also comes with a memory that intuitively remembers how you previously cooked the item.
The focus on natural air for this year’s competition theme comes from the desire for cleaner and healthier indoor air quality. Stefano Marzano, Chief Design Officer at Electrolux, explains the rising interest in healthy indoor air: ‘Healthier air quality is a core factor for consumers, affecting personal health and appearance. Importantly for consumers, the potential to bring ‘fresh country air’ to the city could completely transform the atmosphere within their home.’ Again there have been numerous examples of clean living appliances in previous years which can serve as inspiration for this year’s entrants.
Left: GAIA Root (2010) by Ankit Kumar of India
This concept is a self-sustaining, wall mounted ‘personal ecosystem’ that creates energy from a living wall of plants providing air circulation, air purification and temperature control abilities. Envisaged as a personal touch of green, the wall units are modular so they can be fitted in to homes and apartments of different sizes as required, providing individualised clean air whilst taking up minimum space.
Right: Foliage (2010) by Rami Santala of Finland
Foliage works in much the same way as an ordinary plant that can be placed on a window ledge within the living space. However, instead of oxygen and sugar, Foliage produces clean and cool air using solar energy. The concept also has the ability to transform its shape and surface area by itself.
This is perhaps my personal favourite of the three focus areas and I am most looking forward to seeing the cleaning solutions that the designers come up with. Effortless Cleaning has been chosen as one of the themes for this year’s Design Lab competition due to the increasing space constraints that we face as many of us must adapt to living in more compact apartments. Stefano Marzano says: ‘As our urban homes become more compact and integrated, room for cleaning appliances is significantly reduced, which requires smart and visually inspiring design solution. Time saving concepts are also desired by consumers more than ever and so making the laborious daily cleaning tasks easier should be at the forefront of thinking and creation for designers.’ Again, below you can see a small sample of entries to previous competitions that could serve as inspiration for this theme.
Top Left: Renew (2009) by Louis Filosa of the USA
Renew is a smart steamer made of recycled aluminum and glass that refreshes and cleans clothes. With two steam blades, Renew “blasts” garments clean. An infrared scanner and radio frequency identification gather information about a garment from specifically designed clothing tags and an OLED touch screen allows interaction. The space-saving design is safe to use and disables the steamer if an unidentified object is detected.
Top Right: Bifoliate (2009) by Toma Brundzaite of Lithuania
Bifoliate is a space-saving, wall-mounted double dishwasher that allows the user to put dirty dishes in one compartment and use the other as a shelf for clean dishes. It was inspired by the fact that putting clean dishes from the dishwasher away in the cupboard is often a tedious job. Bifoliate uses ultrasonic wave technology to clean, making it more efficient and eco-friendly than today’s dishwashers.
Bottom left: Naturewash (2009) by Zhenpeng Li of China
Naturewash is a waterless washing machine that uses negative ions to wash nano-coated fabrics. Horizontal in shape, the washing machine has three touch-screen settings: clean clothes, grass scent and flower scent. A user can lie or sit on Naturewash to clean or refresh the clothes they are wearing, but in order to obtain a more thorough clean, clothes can also be placed flat on the washer.
Bottom Right: Robo TAPcleaner (2011) by Gyu Ha Choi of South Korea
Robo TAP is a smart evolution of the robotic vacuum cleaner used to target an exact area for cleaning. It allows the user to precision steer the robot vac to a specific location simply by tapping the floor with a foot. An IPS system aligned with a simple remote control is attached to the shoe or slipper of the user. Two taps on a dirty spot directs the Robo TAP to the precise area for cleaning. Two more taps will cancel the order and three taps returns the vacuum cleaner to its automatic programme.
So if you are a design student or recent graduate and you are feeling inspired by this year’s theme and the above examples of past concept designs, what are you waiting for? Submissions are now open and the entry deadline to submit a concept description and a sketch of your design is 15th March 2013.
After this deadline, the best entries will be published online and the designers will receive feedback from professionals from design, innovation and R&D at Electrolux allowing them to further develop their concept in the hope of being chosen to go through to the next stage of the competition. This year’s competition will also allow us, the public to get involved as we will be able to vote online for our favourite designs throughout the competition. The design that receives the most public votes will automatically go through to the next round. I will keep you posted as to how we can all vote for our favourites!
More information about the competition can be found and submissions can be entered via the Design Lab web page. And don’t forget to consult the Competition Rules before you enter.