The Electrolux Oxygen vacuum cleaner continues to win praise and accolades for its intelligent design, ergonomic features and good looks. Having recently garnered France’s prestigious Janus design award, the Oxygen has been specially selected for the Swedish Design Engineering Prize.
Regarded as the country’s top design award, the prize is given in recognition of outstanding design achievements. It is made under the auspices of the Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technical Development, Ny Teknik Magazine and The Swedish Exhibition Centre. The tenth annual award was made at Design Engineering 2000, a major trade fair held at the Swedish Exhibition Centre in Gothenburg.
The award is intended to encourage the development of industrial product development and is made to products, designs or designers for significant advances in technology, materials or aesthetics. Winning products must combine creative use of technology with ease of manufacture and market potential as well as being of benefit to society.
Electrolux’s Oxygen vacuum cleaner is a winner an all counts, according to awards secretary, Göran Lundström, whose TV programmes promote design thinking. ‘Electrolux has shown that even a well-established product such as a vacuum cleaner can be created anew, with fresh ideas and insights. The Oxygen is light and quiet, with a very powerful filtration system and an appealing shape. And it represents new ergonomic thinking.’
Chief among the innovations in the design of the Oxygen are its distinctive, movable Backsaver handle and lightweight pipes which can be swivelled to make it easier to vacuum under low objects or overhead without risk of back strain.
Although many of Oxygen’s features appear simple, they represent a radical rethink of elements of a vacuum’s design that have changed little since the appliances first made their way into the home early in the last century.
Functionally, the Oxygen includes extra-strong, air-tight seals, a powerful yet quiet motor and a filtration system so efficient it expels air cleaner than the surrounding atmosphere’s – so clean, in fact, that it is as pure as the air in the arctic.
The Oxygen’s filtration system includes, washable Gore Cleanstream ® filter (from the manufacturers of GoreTex ® fabrics) which, when allied to the super-sealed cleaner construction, ensure that no air escapes until it has been thoroughly purified. As a result, the Oxygen can track down and trap even microscopic bacteria and some viruses. As well as helping to beat back pain, the Oxygen therefore also fights allergies triggered by irritants such as dust mite faeces, cat and dog allergens, pollen and mould.
Late last year, the Oxygen won the French Institute of Design’s Janus Award for innovation in industrial design, presented at a special annual event attended by officials from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and other institutions.
And earlier, the Oxygen was rated among the top three European vacuum cleaners when best-selling Swedish consumer magazine Rad &Rön carried out extensive tests on 31 vacuum for dust performance, dust emission, noise levels and ergonomics. The Oxygen gained top marks for its dust-free emission and ergonomics and scoring the lowest noise at just 71 dB(A) despite having one of the most powerful vacuum cleaner motors on the market.
Previous winners of the Swedish Design Engineering Prize have ranged from oil drilling platforms to laser-guided trucks and wheelchairs for children. This year, in an unusual move, the award’s jury of 10 leading design experts looked beyond the design competition’s formal entrants to find a product that exceeded their strict criteria. The search led to the Oxygen receiving the award unsolicited, a fact that underlines its outstanding design merits.
‘Our starting point with the design of the Oxygen was not just to build an efficient vacuum cleaner or a good looking one, but one that was better to use,’ says Michael Green, former design director for the Electrolux Floorcare product line. ‘A lot of our research showed that a big problem with vacuuming is back strain, so I told the team that we had to make our new cleaner ergonomic to fit in with Electrolux’s healthier homes message.’
Electrolux is the world’s largest producer of powered appliances for kitchen, cleaning and outdoor use, such as refrigerators, washing machines, cookers, vacuum cleaners, chain saws, lawn mowers, and garden tractors. In 1999, Group sales were SEK 120 billion and the Group had 93,000 employees. Every year, customers in more than 150 countries buy more than 55 million Electrolux products for both consumer and professional use. The Electrolux Group includes famous appliance brands such as AEG, Zanussi, Frigidaire, Eureka, and Husqvarna.
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