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The Future Is Now At Electrolux Student Challenge

PARIS — Electrolux recently concluded its 11th annual Design Lab competition in which design students from around the world submit futuristic concepts in pursuit of cash prizes and a paid internship at one of the company’s global design centers.

This year, the contest’s theme was healthy homes, and Electrolux put out a call for product, accessory, consumable and service ideas in the areas of culinary enjoyment, fabric care and air purification.

A jury comprised of Lars Erikson, head of Electrolux design; H&M creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch; and Swedish Industrial Design Foundation chief executive Robin Edman narrowed the field of 1,700 entries down to six finalists, and presented the awards here last month at a gala event.

Copping first prize was “Future Hunter-Gatherer,” a “nature inspired virtual grocery shopping experience” by Pan Wang of China and the United Kingdom, in which holographic food projections are selected by users and ordered via mobile app for delivery from local groceries.

Second prize went to “Lotus,” an air purifier conceived by Turkish industrial design student Fulden Dehneli, which features three portable and rechargeable pods that generate active hydrogen and oxygen ions to eliminate biological contaminants.

Third-place winner UrbanCone, designed by Poland’s Michal Pospiech, is a jellyfish-like smart device that floats on photovoltaic solar panel wings to purify urban air and create healthy microclimates.

Besides the cash awards, Electrolux said the Design Lab competition has led to design jobs and career opportunities for many of the contestants, several of whom are currently at work at company design centers worldwide.