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issue: October 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

European Report
Winning Designs


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By Paul Roggema, European correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine.

After the success of the first Design Lab, in which four European design universities delivered new ideas for future home appliances to Electrolux, the Swedish appliance company decided to widen the scope of the project for 2004, asking eight institutions worldwide to cooperate.

There was a specific focus on researching two consumer segments—“those seeking extra time and ease of use from their appliances” and “those seeking appliances that reflect their particular lifestyle in extraordinary design and features.”
Winning designs from 2003 included some innovative products, including a robot-like dishwasher that can move itself to the dinner table, move back to its base, and start the washing process. The most practical was a Hungarian design for a wall-mounted, folding hob that disappeared when not in use. Electrolux announced further research on this idea, and it is currently being evaluated within its engineering department.

According to Marija Borenius, Electrolux spokesperson, the goal of the project is to gain an “increased focus on innovation based on consumer insights.” It is certainly interesting to see how students can meet end-user needs, uninhibited by the constraints of manufacturing and current market dynamics.

The final event of the 2004 competition will take place in November in New York, U.S., where an international celebrity panel will decide on the overall winner.

 

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