By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Cutting-edge appliances designed for future generations of consumers, including a table that cooks, a waterless dishwasher and refrigerated storage containers, were showcased here recently by Electrolux Home Products as part of its annual Design Laboratory student competition.
The program, which launched in 2003, drew entries from leading design schools in nine countries on five continents. Freed from the constraints of tradition, students were invited to create the most outstanding new appliance concepts for the future, based on satisfying evolving consumer needs and trends.
The concepts targeted specific research-identified consumer segments such as “those seeking extra time and ease of use” and “those seeking appliances that reflect their lifestyle with extraordinary design and features.”
The students, from design institutions in Australia, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, used different observational research techniques for input and inspiration.
A jury of luminaries in the international design field assembled in New York to judge the design presentations and select the most outstanding concepts. The jury included Ross Lovegrove, one of the world's top industrial designers, and Chee Perlman, former editor in chief of Industrial Design Magazine, as well as Brad Tribble, president of Electrolux Home Products/Southeast Asia, and Henrik Otto, the company's senior VP/global design.
Jury members judged the entries on the following criteria:
Does the concept appliance solve the consumer's needs as identified by the research?
Does the concept appliance create a “wow” effect, as well as appeal emotionally and intuitively?
Does the concept appliance correspond to the Electrolux brand identity of innovative, trusted solutions for an easier and more enjoyable life?
Is technology, including that from other product areas, creatively applied?
First place went to a team from the University of New South Wales for their water- and chemical-free “Rockpool” dishwashing device, which uses supercritical carbon dioxide in a closed loop operation to clean tableware.
Second place went to a group from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in the Czech Republic and the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Slovakia for “Washman,” a combination washer and dryer with advanced, user-friendly functions and a unique, inviting look.
Third place was awarded to Central Saint Martins College in the United Kingdom for “2015,” a multifunction table that serves as cooktop, worktop, dining area, and desk.
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