We live in an age of many conveniences empowered by technology, and yet there are still some things that remain just as burdensome as they were centuries ago. Sure, we now have smart laundry machines that can go through each stage of the process automatically without human intervention, but there are still aspects of the chore that have to be done manually. That’s especially true for certain types of clothing that might be too delicate to lump with everything else. Washing machines themselves can be quite a literal burden because of their size, limiting their use to a single location only. While that might be fine for the general use case, there are some more specific needs that aren’t covered by regular washing machines. Those corner cases are what this design concept tries to address, and it takes its unique form after one popular style of reusable coffee cups.
Designer: Kai Xia
Today’s most advanced washing machines can wash, drain, spin, dry, and refill water all on their own. They can’t, however, segregate clothes based on color or prevent delicate pieces from getting mixed in the pile. This still has to be done manually, and on some occasions, people have to wash smaller or more delicate clothes by hand. Large washing machines might also be a bit overkill for people living alone, especially if they can take those larger pieces of clothes to a laundromat or similar. What they need is a smaller machine, which is what this foldable washing machine design is aiming for.
If the base design of this washing machine looks a little too familiar, then you might have seen one too many collapsible cups. In fact, these two things share a lot of similar properties in that regard, with the top part of the structure folding down onto the smaller base until it becomes a shorter and more portable device you can carry around or even keep in storage. And like a silicone cup, this concept also uses thermoplastic elastomer or TPE to make it more resistant to aging, yellowing, and corrosion. Sadly, that material isn’t the most long-lasting nor the most sustainable option around.
Despite its rather deceptive appearance, it’s still a washing machine, but one that is designed for a very specific purpose. Its low power consumption and limited capacity mean it can run at gentler speeds, providing the perfect settings for washing smaller clothes or ones made with sensitive material. While it sounds unnecessary to have yet another washing machine, presuming you already have a normal one, it certainly beats having to hand wash those few pieces yourself.
The folding washing machine is also designed for a specific demographic, specifically single-person households that are trying to economize both space and expenditures. The machine doesn’t take up too much space, but it can be compressed even more when not in use. Its power and water consumption are also significantly lower than a regular washing machine. As a bonus, it can also be equipped with antimicrobial blue light to disinfect clothes, which is especially useful for underwear or baby clothes.