Electrolux Design Lab v. Industrial Design Students


Stumble Upon and I have a love/hate relationship.  Some days, the stuff that flashes across my screen at an average of sixty clicks per minute, give or take a few depending on how often something interesting pops up, is so utterly stupid and boring it makes me want to shake the shit out of my fellow Stumblers.  Other days, I find things so interesting I just have to share them with people.  It sure beats searching Google for things like “I am bored.” and “Entertain me.” and “Porn” and “Sex Toys” and…

Oh… Sorry.  With a brand spankin’ new sex toy sitting on my desk, I get sort of distracted.

What am I talking about? That’s another tale for another time.  For now, we’re talking about Stumble.  Or, rather, what Stumble showed me today.

So Stumble dropped me on Mail Online at an article about the end of a design contest held by Electrolux.  I wasn’t satisfied with the little bit of information provided and went hunting for the rest.  On my hunt, I found Electrolux’s really neat Design Lab website and information on a contest Electrolux held offering grad and undergrad students into industrial design the opportunity to design a gadget they think will be useful in the future.

I’m really starting to worry about our dependency on technology.

M’s been yammering about it for ages and I just sort of blow it off.  I mean, of course we’re dependent on technology.  It’s the way things are these days.  Every other day there’s some new gadget to make our lives easier.  Something else to give us more free time to raise hell and destroy each other more efficiently.

Yes, I am that cynical.  What’s your point?

But these innovative ideas the students from all over the world came up with really take the cake.  I mean, on the one hand, they’re sort of green so they’re pretty cool, right? On the other hand, some of them really foster laziness and that’s kinda… not cool.  But don’t take it from me.  See for yourself.

Information on the contest from Electrolux’s Design Lab: 

Brief: Designs for the next 90 years

Electrolux Design Lab 2009 invites undergraduate and graduate industrial design students around the world to create home appliances that will shape how people prepare and store food, wash clothes, and do dishes over the next nine decades.

The design ideas should address key consumer insights such as being adaptive to time and space, provide learning and allow for individualization.

May 31, 2009

London, September 24, 2009

1st prize 5,000 Euro and a six-month paid internship at one of the Electrolux global design centers

2nd prize 3,000 Euro

3rd prize 2,000 Euro

This blue thing that looks sort of like the top of a charcoal grill is called Cocoon and it’s a fish and meat grower.  You heard me correctly.  A fish and meat grower.

Designer Rickard Hederstierna took into consideration the rate at which our population is growing and our rapidly dwindling resources and designed a way for us to consume meat and fish, getting the nutrients we need from them, without eventually running out of the animals we harvest the meat from.

It’s pretty cool in theory.  It would take a few muscle cells and grow them into enough meat to feed your family.  This would mean we wouldn’t have to slaughter animals to eat meat anymore! Not that my conscience has ever really bothered me about that.  I mean, we are at the top of the food chain.  Right under bacteria and viruses.

Though I’m wondering how we would harvest the muscle cells.  And if PETA would have a problem with that, too.  I also wonder if vegetarians will start eating meat grown in this product.  Or at least leave us meat eaters alone.  I’ll take either.

That creepy, crawly with the plant springing up out of its head is a robotic greenhouse called Le Petit Prince.  Designer Martin Miklica was looking far into the future to days when we’re looking for a new planet to live on and he thought we’d all be lonely and depressed without plants and such on Mars.  So he designed a pet plant that would wander Mars’s surface with you and lend a silent ear to your woes.

But why just make it for Mars? Who wouldn’t want a pet plant following them around the house? That would be pretty awesome, if you ask me!

I figure since they’re looking to send it to Mars, though, that it’ll cost five bazillion dollars to make and even more to buy.  Which totally sucks.  Cause I bet these little robot plants would do wonders for teaching kids to respect their planet.  I mean, I’m sure it’ll teach them how to sustain life on Earth once their elders destroy it for them!

The wall-hanging dishwasher, called Bifoliate, is my absolute favorite.  No, really.  I’m not being sarcastic.  I want.  Cause I would love to have a dishwasher.  But there’s no room in our apartment for anything else.  It sucks, dude.  This dishwasher would make me so friggin happy.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole only having one door thing.  I mean, I’d rather be able to run both sides at once.  And I don’t really want people looking at my everyday dishes, clean or dirty, unless they’re eating off them.  That’s why I store them in a closed cabinet rather than hanging on the wall.

And please tell me why we haven’t thought of this sooner? There are plenty of minuscule apartments all over the ghetto that could totally use a wall-hanging dishwasher.  Not to mention rich frat boys.  Who’d do their own dishes with this neat new invention until the novelty wore off.  So once or twice.

Let’s get on it, Electrolux! Help out ghetto housewives and rich frat boys everywhere! I’m probably the only ghetto wife whose husband isn’t selling drugs (Damn Mormon-raised white boys and their morals!) so I can’t afford it.  But I’m sure the rest of ’em can!

Next we’ve got bat balls! At least, that’s what they look like.  But what they are is Water Catchers that catch, filter and dispense chilled rain water while in flight.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen.  Your bat ball will fly to you and pour you a nice glass of filtered rain water.  Cool, huh? Totally.  Cause that ten step trip to the sink was killing me.  For serious.  And having to actually reach out my hand to turn off the sink? Yeah, that’s getting kind of old.

On the real, though, this design is pretty cool.  Not only would the bat balls collect water, but they’ll program themselves to meet your own nutritional needs, which would be determined by an on board hand scanner, and the material can turn translucent.  Neat, right?

This thing that looks like a refrigerator? It is a refrigerator.  But wait.  This neat over-sized gadget does more than just chill your food.

It’s called the Teleport Fridge and it would teleport food from all over the world to your kitchen at the press of a button.  Say goodbye to produce that’s been handled by everyone and their brother and transported hours in a truck to your supermarket.  Forget about two hour shopping trips, crowded box stores, annoying shoppers and mile long lines.  Say hello to never having to leave your home again (and being known as the smelly cat lady who only opens her door to check the mail).

Although, I could teleport some passion fruit straight from the tribe that M stayed with when he went to Africa as a kid.  Then I could make him fresh passion fruit juice just like when he was a boy.  I’d have an exact replica of our house fridge made with the teleport feature as a surprise and teleport a buttload of passion fruit from Zaire (Is it still called Zaire? I really ought to pay more attention to the countries that aren’t a threat to us.  But then, that’s true of most Americans.).  Then he’d come home and I’d hand him a glass of fresh-squeezed passion fruit juice.  Probably processed by one of my other nifty gadgets.

This next is also something we should hand out freely to ghetto-dwellers everywhere.  It’s a wall-hanging steamer and cleaner for clothes called Renew.  In seconds, it cleans and irons a garment at a time while you pull it through.  And, like the wall-hanging dishwasher, it would be perfect for my minuscule apartment.  I mean, eventually you gotta stop throwing your clothes in the dryer with a dryer sheet and wash them, right?

Okay, so we take our clothes to the laundry mat.  But can you imagine climbing out of bed, grabbing your favorite shirt you’ve worn five hundred times in the last three months and just… running it through a rack on your wall?

No more last minute washing (and praying it dries in time) of the perfect skirt for your hot date.  No more waking up with fifteen minutes to get ready and run out the door and realizing you have no clean shirts.  No more M getting up and realizing I washed everything but underwear and having to make up an excuse for being late.

What? I never claimed to be a perfect housewife!

Once again, an excellent invention for ghetto housewives and rich frat boys.  What’s taking you so long, Electrolux?

Next up, we have a food printer.  You heard me right.  A food printer.  This Jetsons-looking thing is called Moléculaire and it would use food particles to print 3D foods like cakes and sweets.

How would it work?  You’d place a plate under the machine and a blister pack of food particles inside and, at the press of a button, layer by layer, this printer will build 3D, intricately designed bits of food.  It’s perfect for any dinner party.  Designer Nico Kläber envisions users creating their own software and ingredients and surfing the internet for shared recipes.

So here’s my thing.  Would we be marketing this to rich folks? Cause, you know, they don’t really need it.  Except for a conversation piece.  I mean, you don’t really think rich people prepare the food for their dinner parties, do you? If so, there’d be no such thing as caterers.

So it’s another interesting product we’d have to figure out how to make cheaply.  Cause only ghetto housewives who can’t afford a caterer but are married to men in Corporate America (namely, me) will need this gadget.  And only when they gain enough confidence to invite their Corporate America husband’s Corporate America bosses to their meager table.  And even then it would only be to convince the Corporate America bosses that they can afford a caterer or have the skills to cater their own dinner party.  Cause, especially in Corporate America, we’re convinced that the price tag on the clothes makes the person wearing them.

Last, but certainly not least, we have grass that cleans your clothes! No lie.  Check it out.  I’m not entirely sure how it’s supposed to work.  I suppose if I watched the accompanying video for the Naturewash, I might understand it better.  But I’ve run out of time for watching.  Something about passing negative ions through the grass and reacting with self-cleaning chemicals in clothing.

I really like the idea of this thing.  I have visions of laying on the grass, reading a book on a particularly sunny day in the clothes I wore the day before but want to wear again.  Catching some rays, gaining some knowledge and washing clothes all at the same time.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

And! It sits up like a lawn recliner.  So you can lay flat or recline on this thing just as if you were catching some rays on the beach.  Way to figure out a way to get us outside while doing chores, man.  This is an all around awesome idea.

All in all, some pretty neat ideas, huh? And the winner is…

The Cocoon designed by Rickard Hederstierna! Congratulations, man.  I’d love to know what you’re planning on doing with 5000 Euro.  I’m sure we could talk over a spending plan that would benefit me more than you.  Call me! ~grin~

In second place was Water Catcher by Penghao Shan, winning 3000 Euro.  Third place was Renew by Louis Filosa, who obviously shares my thoughts on last minute date clothes.  And the People’s Choice Award went to Teleport Fridge by Dulyawat Wongnawa.

Congratulations to all the winners! Seriously, get in touch with me about that prize money.  You’ll thank me later.  Or maybe not.  But I’ll certainly thank you.  After I’ve spent all your money.

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