Wow! The nine finalists in the 2008 Electrolux Design Lab competition sure are some tough competition for their more seasoned colleagues. These 9 undergraduate and graduate students in industrial design programs have created some awesome designs for the techie kitchen.
The Design Lab 2008 competition started back in February when entries were invited. Specific instructions called for designers to focus on a future kitchen (2 to 3 years out) for the IGeneration concerns: "mobility, convenience, time, materials, personalization, entertaining, technology, and sustainability.” Further, Design Lab suggested that applications should address food storage, cooking, and/or washing.
See what you like....
1. The Flatshare Fridge, Designer Stefan Buchberger, Austria
This ingenious refrigerator idea came to Mr. Buchberger when he was sharing a flat with others. "There's nothing more disgusting than a dirty fridge in a shared flat," he said. So, he designed a way to let everyone dirty his own space. The locker-like modules are independent coolers, so you can transport them when you move... bad food and all!
2. The Drawer Kitchen, Designer Nojae Park, Korea
The idea of a work station/fridge/hot plate/dish drawer is a great one for students and young professionals. As Mr. Park, who attends design school in Tokyo, points out, young people live in very small spaces, do most all work, socializing, entertainment, and communication activities on the Internet. They don't cook very much at home, "and they don’t want to move while they are at their monitors, but at the same time, they are hungry. So they want to solve their hunger problem near their computer desk.”
3. Sook, Designer Adam Brodowski, USA
Sook is quite a futuristic design for a computerized food and moisture sensor, taster, recipe builder, photographer and Internet uploader. To put it more directly, the Sook creates recipes based on the food, seasonings, and liquids surrounding it and relays them to others on a social website via the Internet. The user, and I use that term loosely, can add or subtract ingredients from the mix created by the Sook, as he desires. The Sook does not cook, however.
4. The iBasket, Designer Guopeng Liang, China
This wireless clothes hamper/washing machine automatically starts washing when the clothes hamper is full and can be monitored from your office computer, that is, if your boss doesn't mind you watching your clothes wash during work hours. Gotta love it!
Mr. Liang says he was inspired by daily living. Too busy with living, most people his age don't have time to tend to their wash, "nor do they want to."
5. Stratosphere, Designer Atilla Sáfrány, Hungary
The Stratosphere doesn't wash your clothes, it sanitizes and deodorizes them. Mr. Sáfrány says that clothing is not always ready to wash just because it's been worn. Young people, he says, don't have the time to put these "worn once" clothing away, so they hang them on chairs or throw them on the floor. The Stratosphere acts as a valet; while your pants, for example, are hanging on the arm of the Stratosphere, the unit goes to work with its Hepa filters to remove pollution, like body odor and cigarette smoke, out of them. Then Stratosphere's ultraviolet light is engaged to disinfect the pants.
6. Vesta Cooktop, Designer Matthias Pinkert, Germany
Like the Drawer Kitchen ( No. 2 above), the Vesta Cooktop designs for the small flat, the cramped quarters of a one room apartment. The Vesta folds up into a slim, slim notebook when not in use and can be parked easily almost anywhere, but its sleek stainless steel design would look pretty sweet in full view. The Vesta Cooktop is designed to scan RFID chips that may eventually replace barcodes on food products. The chips could contain information about cooking times and possibly suggestions for a recipe or two!
7. The Coox, Designer Antoine Lebrun, France
The personal computer (MAC included) is the living space in the IGeneration's world. And throughout these designs you can see the emphasis on making more time and less work for things like eating, which seems more like a chore than a pleasure. The Coox can cook anywhere you don't mind having food smells. Roll it next to your bed, your desk, your couch... anywhere you feel like cooking. Not only does it roll, but you can adjust the height to where you are sitting. The glass ceramic cooking surface is induction heated and, therefore, will cool down very soon after you turning off the burner.
8. The Scan Toaster, Designer Sung Bae Chang, South Korea
Geeks like to have fun and Mr. Chang definitely provides it in his design of a USB-powered Scan Toaster. While sitting at your work station, because we all know you don't have time to eat your toast at home, you can plug the Scan Toaster into your computer and download the news or any images you want onto your toast. I know it would take me a long time to eat that toast. Got anything else for breakfast?
9. The E-bag, Designer Apor Püspöki, Hungary
The E-bag is an ingenious design for a lunch pail. Take this to work and while you are walking, swinging your arms, your activity will cool your lunch! The further you go, the more you swing, the cooler it will get. A pump within the bag charges a storage batery that provides cooling to the entire bag. The pump is attached to a rotating handle outside of the bag that when swung will kinetically activate the pump. Now that's creating your own energy!
This is the sixth year of the Electrolux Design Lab. The finals this year will be held in Zurich, Switzerland, October 8 - 9, 2008. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finalists; first prize is €5,000 plus a six month scholarship to an Electrolux Group design center.
I don't know how the judges will pick a winner this year. Do you have a favorite? If so, let us know... and go vote for it on the Electrolux Design Lab website under "The Competition," and then "Vote."
addendum: October 12, 2008: The 2008 winner of the Electrolux Design Lab competition has been announced. Guess who won, then go see it here!