Those who love a bit of home gadget future design should get themselves down to John Lewis, Oxford Street this week for a preview of the Electrolux Design Labs 2010 finalists.
This year’s theme for the competition is “The 2nd Space Age” and asks the question of what kind of home appliances will be relevant in 2050. The problems that the designers focused on were based around the prediction that 74% of the population will be living in cities in 40 years’ time. Currently the figure stands at more like 50% but such an increase would mean an average living space for each person of just 35m-squared - smaller than a boxing ring.
At the moment, when we buy a £500 washing machine it occupies a certain amount of floor space in our homes equivalent to something like £5,000 but how will our habits change when the same unit would have a rent of 10 times that? These are the solutions to the problems of the future according to the eight Electrolux Design Lab 2010 competition finalists.
Bio Robot Refrigerator
Four times smaller than a normal fridge, the Bio Robot cools your goods with an odourless, non-sticky biopolymer gel. The gel morphs itself around the products and cools each one to its own specific temperature using luminescence. The brain child of Russian designer, Yuri Dmitriev, it eliminates the need for shelves, a motor or even a door with 90% of the device given over to its purpose.
Elements Modular Kitchen
Matthew Gibson’s idea is to eliminate the need for a kitchen space at all beyond a wall mounted modular set of his creations which do all you could need. They stick on any smooth surface using technology based on a gecko’s foot and act as a refridgertator through solid state induction, a hob, a light and storage as well. It’s all powered by wirelessly through ambient frequencies and it could even be attached to a large window to harvest solar energy from the outside as well.
This all in one laundry concept uses nanobots to detect and clean specific parts of your clothing as they’re hung in the wardrobe waiting to be worn. It eliminates the need for a washing units at all, saves water and looks rather good too. Designed by Michael Edenius.
Lichen Guo’s idea was to rid the home of the floor standing washing machine. The Dismount Washer acts as a laundry basket pod while it’s filling up. When ready, you attach it to the central motor on the wall which spins it and infuses steam to clean it.
The Kitchen Hideaway
Probably the most far out idea comes from Daniel Dobrogorsky. It’s a virtual reality kitchen as used by inhabitants of a large block of flats. You sit down and imagine cooking yourself a meal just as you like it and the same process is carried out by robots in a central kitchen below who send the food up when it’s done. There’s no real mention of how your thoughts are transmitted or what happens if everyone in the block is trying to cook a the same time but doubtless man will have come up with a way around that by 2050.
The Eco Cleaner is a portable dishwasher/composter idea as created by Ahi Andy Mohsen. It uses ultrasonic waves to ionise the food particles and recycle then into reusable compost. It reduces the size of the dishwasher and also takes into account predictions about the changing way that food will be packaged and perhaps served in more efficient capsule type shapes. Sadly, the Eco Cleaner is one of two finalists you won't find in John Lewis but it will be present and correct at Earl's Court for the 100% Design show.
This space saver from Nicolas Hubert is an outside, wall mounted sliding fridge. The idea is that you put it next to your window and slide it across when you need to access it. During winter, the cold temperatures keep your food cold and in the summer, the motor is powered by solar energy. Unfortunately, it's the second absentee in the Oxford Street store.
Recognising the inefficiencies of heating foods and drinks, Peter Alwin has come up with a small induction element heater which you can fix to the side of a saucer, pot or cup. It heats the contents to the specific temperature you’re after and will even keep a mug of tea warm throughout the entire time you drink it.
The eight designers will be presenting their creations to a panel of judges live on 23 September at the 100% Design show in Earl’s Court but you can vote for your favourite for the people’s award on the Electrolux Design Lab 2010 website.
In the mean time though, which of these would you most like to see in your home either now or in 2050? Let us know in the comments below.