10 October 2008

3-way winner of Electrolux design competition

Stefan Buchberger, a design student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, is the winner of the Electrolux 2008 Design Lab competition.

Buchberger saw off 600 entrants from 49 countries and eight fellow finalists to win the event with a module-based refrigerator called the Flatshare Fridge.

In addition to winning the official judges’ prize, he also won the Peoples’ Award, based on votes via the Design Lab website, and the Media Award based on votes from journalists attending the finals in Zurich on 9 October.

This year, the sixth year of the global contest, undergraduate and graduate industrial design students were invited to create appliance concepts for the Internet generation.

Buchberger’s idea grew out of a semester-long theme about keeping personal space clean and tidy. ‘I decided to create Flatshare fridge because there is nothing more disgusting than a dirty fridge in a shared flat,’ he said. ‘At the time, I was living in such a flat!’

The fridge consists of a base station and up to four stackable modules. The modules allow each individual user to have his or her own refrigerator space and can be customised with various colourful skins as well as with add-ons like a bottle opener or a whiteboard.

Handles on the sides of the modules make them easy to transport. ‘If you move to new flat, you can just transport your module like a suitcase and hook it up to the base station in your new flat,’ Buchberger explained.

This year, the competition targeted the upper-age segment of the iGeneration - 25-to-35-year old, brand-conscious, busy young professionals who are independent, and concerned about the environment, and whose lives are intertwined with technology and online social networks.

Contestants were asked to submit designs for appliances for 2-3 years in the future and address food storage, cooking, and/or washing.

‘People in the Internet generation want to be free and live their own individual lives,’ he said. 'My concept fits in to this because it lets people move wherever they want to on short notice. If you are fed up with the people you are living with, you can just take the fridge and your stuff and move to a new place’

This year’s runner up in the judges’ awards went to the iBasket; a Wi-Fi connected clothes hamper and washing machine, by Guopeng Liang, Tongji University, China and third place went to Coox, the rollaway cooking table by Antoine Lebrun, L'Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique, France.

See kbb News on Monday 13 October for a full report on Design Lab 2008.

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