It’s not always easy to predict the future. For its 2010 competition, Electrolux Design Lab went with the theme: The 2nd Space Age; this essentially translating to designing a home environment for the year 2050, when 74% of the global population are predicted to live in urban areas. Student designers had to predict how people will prepare and store food, wash clothes, and do dishes. Quite a task but plenty of surprises from across the globe! Here are the Finalist 25, the countdown has begun!
Before I give you the randomly listed 25 designs, here’s a bit of background on the theme: The idea is to design an appliance or a suite of appliances that will help combat the space crunch, limited resources plus advocate energy savings at the same time.
25) A- Laundry: Community Laundry Concept by Kai Wai Lee
A communal laundry for the entire apartment block! Space saving indeed but what makes it different from the usual Laundromats is that there are individual laundry baskets for each family to take home, fill up with the dirty clothes, to bring back and wash.
24) Bio Robot Refrigerator by Yuriy Dmitriev
The Bio Robot fridge cools biopolymer gel through luminescence and uses non sticky, odorless gel to envelope stored food as individual pods. Sans doors and drawers, the fridge can be oriented vertical or horizontal, as per the home requirements.
23) Bio Tank, Robotic ‘FishWasher’ by Akifusa Nakazawa
The Bio Tank does the dishes, is a pet and a composter…all-in-one! The Robotic fish cleans up the dish, turns the food and grime into bio fuel. It filters to clean the water, meaning no replacing the dirty water either…coz there won’t be any!
22) Bx7 Preparation Unit by Losif Mihailo
Don’t pack in vitamin pills like Samantha in Sex and The City 2, instead gorge on capsules of zinc, calcium, magnesium, or carbohydrates with water to for nutritious juice!
21) Clean Closet – All in One Laundry Concept by Michael Edenius
This is the closet of the future so it has the right to include cleaning facilities in it! So basically when you hang your clothes, the internal scanner scans it for dirt and cleans it accordingly and at the end of the cycle you got fresh, hung clothes in a closet.
20) In-home Clothing Printer by Joshua Harris
It’s the future and you absolutely have the right to print and wear your own clothes. I wonder if this means I can print my own Dior Couture and LV fashion when I’m in 2050!
19) Community Fridge by Pedro Sanin Perez
Taking community living to another level is this share-your-fridge concept. Each house gets its own space in a large community refrigerator that takes charge of the refreshments and groceries. Crunch in your code, details of what you want to snack on and your personal fridge dispenses the goodies via the common dispensing shaft. I know many of you may want to bicker about this concept, coz it’s got many pros and cons; I’ll put this one up as an individual post with details, later. So hold your breath till then.
18) Dismount Washer – Wash & Go Laundry by Lichen Guo
The Dismount Washer combines the laundry basket and the washing machine drum into one. Basically you hook up the washing drum onto the wall mountable motor (or ‘energy stick’) and let it do its business. The concept addresses only the space-crunch aspect of the modern world.
17) Eco Cleaner by Ahi Andy Mohsen
As discussed earlier, the Eco Cleaner cleans the dishes and turns the dirt to compost for plants. It also predicts a future where meals will be more easier to cook as capsules!
16) Elements Modular Kitchen by Mathew Gilbride
All-In-One Kitchen Shelving is a modular system with wall-mounted appliances that provide flexible modes of cooking, refrigeration, air conditioning, lighting, and environmental design. All this so that you have more prime space to call home! More details on this cool project soon!
15) External Chilling – External Refrigerator by Nicolas Hubert
This refrigerator is a unit meant to be installed outdoors, as in the balcony. It’s meant to take advantage of the changing weather; in winters the low temps outdoors require the fridge to consume lesser energy to keep foods fresh and during the summers, solar panels harness the goodness of the sun!
14) Freedge – The Inside-Out Fridge by Matthew McNaughton
Quite similar to the External Chilling, Freedge too is based on the concept of harnessing the goodness of the winter months to the food’s advantage. However this design sees the iteration of a pull out drawer rather than wall mounting.
13) GAIA Wall Mounted Air Purification by Ankit Kumar
Ankit from India is probably too aware of the health issue thanks to our polluted environment. Dust and grime are a part of our daily routine here. His offering to the Design Lab Competition is the GAIA Root, a wall mounted ‘personal ecosystem’ that creates energy from a living wall of plants providing air circulation, air purification and temperature control. Hot, humid and dusty Mumbai so needs this!
12) The Snail Micro Induction Heating System by Peter Alwin
Using high density sugar crystal battery for power, the Snail heats up food via magnetic induction. Latching onto utensils externally, the appliance uses its inbuilt sensors to detect the type of food and thus set the heating time and intensity.
11) The Inflower – Small Laundry Cleaning Units by Jianjiang Yin
Inflower is this compact handheld unit that works as a cleaner of stains sans water. Solar powered, the unit uses nano technology to clean clothes and even doubles up as an air purifier for stored clothes.
10) Instinct Vacuum Cleaner by Berty Bhuruth
The Sheep-like Cleaner is a robotic vacuum cleaner concept that visualizes the room it has to clean in 3D and then charts its course of action. It will even satisfy your cravings for a robotic pet! Just Kidding!
9) The Kitchen Hideaway by Daniel Dobrogorsky
Virtual Reality comes to the kitchen! Imagine thinking of a delicious 3-course meal and robotic chefs in a communal kitchen laboring over the stove to cook it! That’s the future..2050! Headset, imagination and obedient robots is all that you need.
8 ) Lupe Hand Held Washing Machine by Il-seop So
I’m biased but I simply adore the idea of washing, ironing & drying in one go! Lesser time spent on cleaning means more on the computer for me!
7) Mesh Cooker – Expandable Oven & Hob by Lucian Cucu
The Mesh Cooker is a portable device that uses retractable aluminum and expandable Teflon to a variety of foods. The Mesh Cooker can be placed on a table or anywhere near a socket to plug it in. The cooker doubles up as an oven with a cooking plate – heating food within or on top depending on how you like it. When not in use the Mesh Cooker folds away in to a 30 x 10 cm space.
6) MESO- Food Injection by Bogdan Ionita
I’m a little spooked by the Meso, but I guess it has to do with my fear for needles. What the Meso proposes is a device that directly injects nutrients to your blood stream after determining what food groups you require. This may be ok for the folks in 2050, but I’d still want to bite into a juicy burger…It’s got all the nutrition I need!
5) Space Saving Kitchen Range – Modular Kitchen Appliance by Shin Woosup
What a wonderful idea, one modular appliance that is efficient enough to prepare the entire breakfast. A toaster, a kettle and an induction hob, that’s what the Modular Kitchen Appliance is all about!
4) Preserved Egg Sweep Robot by Kai Dung
Four Balls, no pun intended, clean up your home for you; recharge at a base station and behave like tennis balls on the clay court. Confused? Don’t be, I’m talking about the Preserved Egg Sweep Robot. Enjoy the service while you can.
3) The Drum Washing Machine by Andras Suto
Another heavy-duty Communal Laundry System that allows the community to share the washing facilities. Basically it features an extractable washing machine drum that doubles up as a laundry basket for transportation between home and wash-area.
2) Zephyr Integrated Laundry System by Dulyawat Wongnawa
Zephyr is a storage unit that cleans clothes using ‘Airwash’ technology (with ozone being created to remove bacteria and odors, as currently found in industrial cleaning) and steam to remove wrinkles.
1) Qumi Flexible Cooking Unit by Ilia Vostrov
Qumi is a fold out universal kitchen set that can be used for heating, frying and steaming a wide variety of food types (including water based meals such as soup). Its supposed to be hung up on the induction charging hook, when not in use. The concept features no display or control panel, and all instructions are supposed to be processed via mobile devices in the network ready home of the future.
These were the 25 smashing projects, some of which you got a glimpse of before, some that we’ll discuss in detail later. The final countdown will have 8 finalists battling it out in September, in London. They will be invited to present their concept to a jury of expert designers. The first prize of a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design centre and 5,000 Euros. A second prize of 3,000 Euros and third prize of 2,000 Euros are also on offer.