The Electrolux Design Lab isn’t just a design competition – it’s a stretch of the imagination and a peek at what we may one day be using in our homes. The 2012 semi-finalists have just been announced, and DX selects its favourites.
Designers from over 20 countries rose to the challenge in this year’s Electrolux Design Lab. Using ‘experience creators’ as their inspiration – from professional chefs to interior designers – participants sought to create home appliance concepts that engage the senses in new ways and make life that little bit easier.
30 semi-finalists have been chosen from a selection of wonderful, wacky and always innovative creations, with 10 designers to be chosen to partake in the final in Milan at the end of October. DX selects its top picks from the semis and gets an insight into the appliances that may just one day become household standards.
Aeroball by Jan Ankiersztajn, Poland, Uniwersytet Artystyczny w Poznaniu
Tiny floating bubbles clean and filter the air as they hover. The spheres absorb light during the day and emit a soft glow at night, a delicate and unobtrusive addition to indoor space. Scented varieties even give off a faint perfume.
Hula Washer by Sang-soon Lee, South Korea, Yongin University
Such a fun concept it’s a wonder it wasn’t thought of sooner! The hollow centre of the ring is large enough to fit several items of clothing and some washing liquid. Rather than wasting electricity and time on a long, energy-zapping spin cycle, all you need to operate the hula washer is a few swings of the hips! Top marks for incorporating a retro pastime into a household chore.
Ingresure by Jongwoo Choi, United Kingdom/South Korea, Central Saint Martins
Ingresure uses advanced sensors to measure the ingredients in a dish as it’s been cooked and determines how much salt, pepper or spice are needed for the best result. Taste is, of course, purely subjective – but Ingresure aims to replicate the expertise of a professional chef for a trusted taste test that doesn’t leave your tongue scalded!
SmartPlate by Julian Caraulani, United Kingdom/Romania, Coventry University
Sound and music were a recurring feature of many of this year’s Design Lab entries. SmartPlate is one such example – a dish that senses what you are eating and translates the information into sound. Connecting wirelessly to a mobile device, the plate assigns tone, harmony and rhythm to each ingredient it identifies. Users can listen and then compose their own melodies, interacting directly with a recipe of sound.
Touch by Markus Marks, Estonia, Estonian Academy of Arts
Touch eliminates the need for ironing boards and clunky irons, offering a handy portable option that uses infrared light to sense wrinkles in clothing and smooth them out. Touch is positioned as a quicker and safer alternative to traditional irons – no more scorched business shirts or burnt fingers.
Impress by Ben de la Roche, New Zealand, Massey University
Spoiled leftovers at the back of the fridge are an irritatingly regular occurrence. Impress seeks to change the way we refrigerate our food, holding it out in the open for easier access and visibility – reminding us what’s there and encouraging us to use it up. The Impress refrigerator doesn’t refrigerate when empty, and the amount of power it uses depends on the amount of items it is housing at the time.
Be There by Mikus Vanags, Latvia, Art Academy of Latvia
Travel and food are intimately connected – no travel experience is complete without trying the local cuisine. Be There brings a sense of travel and adventure to your very own kitchen – choose any location in the world and experience the flavours and mood of the place with themed atmospheres and recipes for local cuisine. A simple idea with potential for growth, Be There responds to the trend for interactive home environments that change our perception of the space around us.
Electrolux Design Lab