A floating air cleaning concept wins Electrolux Design Lab 2012

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Conceived by Polish design student Jan Ankiersztajn, the Aeroball consists of small floating balls that filter and fragrance the surrounding environment.

Sound a bit wacky? Possibly but the idea behind it is very creative and rather charming. Drawing inspiration from fireflies, Ankiersztajn’s little filtration balls absorb light during the day to radiate at night as they hover by means of tiny helium balloons at their core. Once laden with dust and grit, the balls then gently float down to the floor.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Electrolux Design Lab is a major industrial design competition engaging students from all over the world. Each year the brief has a different theme and 2012 saw over 1,200 students submit their concepts in answer to the following brief: Draw inspiration from professional creators (chefs, architects, interior designers, hotel designers etc) to design home appliances that will provide a fuller sensory experience. This could be through state of the art technology or a clever blend of textures and surfaces.

The ten finalists with the winner, Jan Ankiersztajn, in the centre holding the biggest bunch of flowers

With the ten finalists assembled in the beautiful surroundings of the Triennale Design Museum in Milan on 25th October 2012, it was the Aeroball that was unanimously announced as the winning concept by the jury, which consisted of the award winning chef Davide Oldani, renowned designer Dante Doneganni, popular design blogger Kelly Beall and the design director at Electrolux, Thomas Johansson. The judges remarked that the Aeroball is a “truly innovative concept that uses space in a unique way. It’s emotional and relevant.”

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Speaking to Johansson at the award ceremony, he said that he really liked the creative thinking behind the concept and how it could be used for other applications beyond the home. For instance, just imagine these glowing balls hovering around your camp site – just like fireflies – emitting a scent to deter mosquitos.

Despite not having an answer to exactly what ‘ultra-light and ecologically sourced materials’ could be used nor whether the balls could be reused, Ankiersztajn had done enough to secure him first place of Euro 5,000 prize money and a six month paid internship at an Electrolux global design centre..

Although I was a fan of this concept and really liked the way in which it was both beautiful and useful, a couple of the other designs caught my eye.Firstly, Memory. Designed by WenYao Cai of China this coffee making concept uses hand print recognition to make a cup of coffee just the way the user likes it. I love how I’d never have to say “can I have a one shot skinny cappuccino with two sugars please” as my hand print will do the talking. Brilliant. Now only if it could make sandwiches and bake biscuits too.

The second design I was rather taken with was Easystir – although this isn’t a wholly original concept (see the Philips’s Homecooker), I like the idea that the gadget will continuously stir your sauce or stew preventing it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Designed by Lisa Frodadottir Lastad of Norway, the Easystir utilises magnets that react to an induction stove and can be programmed to stir at the speed you set it at. Genius.

All in all Design Lab 2012 had a very impressive line up of finalists with Johansson commenting that it was their best ever – pretty fitting being its tenth anniversary.

For a more in-depth look at the concepts visit the dedicated website: www.electrolux.com/electroluxdesignlab


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