Mobile efficiency by design

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The Electrolux Design Lab competition, annually conducted by the manufacturer since 2003, has again proved Electrolux’s commitment to design innovation and its dedication to finding the best of the new talent. This year, industrial design students from all over the world were asked to consider intelligent mobility in the context of home appliances.

The brief was to create products that will help people prepare and store food, wash clothes and do dishes both within and outside home using existing technology.

The eight finalists, selected from 1,300 entrants, who presented their ideas at the Business Design Centre in London, showed a great deal of creativity and lateral thinking.

Among the products selected for final judging was a mobile induction heat plate operated by a smart phone, a ribbon-shaped multi-purpose heater and cooler which could be wrapped around a vessel containing food or drink, and a robotic vacuum cleaner that using a remote control, guided by the user’s shoe tapping movement, is able to target an exact area for cleaning.

The winning product – a portable spot cleaner – by Slovakian designer, Adrian Mankovecky, consisted of two components that are placed on either side of the garment. Activated by negative ions, it removes stains and refreshes clothing. It is powered by a sugar battery and can be used anywhere in the world.

“The portable spot cleaner is built on a very solid consumer insight and it is highly relevant. It is an instant laundry device that has a positive impact on the environment by reducing energy consumption. Its usage and interaction are very intuitive. We all want one,” said Henrik Otto, senior vice president of Global Design at Electrolux.

For his winning project, the Slovakian designer was offered a six-month work placement at the Electrolux global design centre and 5,000 Euros.

Adam Sczepanowski, design manager at Electrolux, argued that mobile product applications will become more relevant in our mobile era where everything is switched on 24/7.  He explained that as people lead increasingly nomadic lives, they not only gather experiences and inspirations from all over the world, but have to conduct a variety of chores on the move. At the same time the functionality of every room in the house is increasing – as bedrooms become studies, and the kitchen – an all-day work room and the heart of the home.

Living on the move will also entail a greater flexibility of meal times and an increasing importance of ‘me-time’ devoted to personal interests and leisure activities.

‘Intelligent mobility’ will also become synonymous with intelligent use of resources, including the use of ‘smart energy grids’. Social status will be closely linked with making ‘smart choices’, reflecting people’s green consciousness.

­Lars Hygnell, Electrolux vice president of global brand management, also stressed the growing impact of urbanization of the western societies on lifestyles and peoples expectations. He predicted that in 20 years time, 70% of the population will live in cities and in 15 years’ time there will be more people working  from home than commuting to work. People living hectic and multi-faceted lives will expect highly efficient but simple-to-use appliances, complementing a stress-free home environment.

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