Top home appliance trends for iGeneration

After analyzing hundreds of entries from the Electrolux Design Lab 2008 competition, Electrolux reveals six emerging home appliance trends for the iGeneration.

What kind of home appliances will be the new home decor favorites among savvy Internet generation consumers? This was the challenge Electrolux gave to young designers as part of the Electrolux Design Lab ´08 competition.

More than 600 industrial design students from 49 countries sent in their ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas and imaginative solutions. The competition’s brief was to create tomorrow’s home appliances for the Internet generation with submissions 2-3 years into the future addressing food storage, cooking, and/or washing.

After selecting one overall winner, Electrolux analyzed all 600 entries, identifying six emerging trends, which in short reveal that iGeneration appliances should be fun and fashionably-functional, smart and eco-friendly, multi-purpose and educational, feminine and social.

“These trends provide real market insight into future products targeting the iGeneration,” says European PR Manager Frédérique Pirenne. “Each trend is unique and reflects this generation’s 24-7 online, global lifestyle, which is challenged by time, money and space.”

Top 6 trends
1. Convergence
Household appliances are no longer divorced from the rest of our interior requirements (blending smoothly into our domestic environment). We become used to the omnipresence of digital resources. Notions of separate (household) devices, each with its own application, are becoming outdated. A quarter of the Electrolux Design Lab entries offer at least two significantly different functions, converged in one undividable body.

Concept examples within the ‘convergence’ trend: Coox, the rollaway cooking table (3rd place winner), by Antoine Lebrun, L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique, France, and Vesta, the foldaway cooktop with an RFID scanner, by Mattias Pinkert: HTW Dresden (FH), Germany.

2. New sobriety/extra-ordinary design
‘Ordinary’ used to be an insult, but at the time when ‘high street’ (middle market) consumers are trading up by using fashionable or fast-forward ‘design’ as their new watchword, a growing number of discerning, twenty-something consumers are no longer triggered by design for design’s sake, but are committing themselves to function and delighted sobriety. This orientation towards austere form and usefulness demonstrates a new approach to simplicity but, unlike severe minimalism, retains certain warmth.

Concept examples within the ‘new sobriety/extra-ordinary design’ trend: iBasket, the Wi-Fi-connected clothes hamper and washing machine (2nd place winner). Guopeng Liang, Tongji University, China, and Drawer Kitchen, the desk-drawer hotplate and fridge, by Nojae Park, Chiba University, Japan.

3. Greengineering
Environmental strictures encourage domestic appliances to evolve and improve. The Internet Generation is prominently challenged by time, money and space, therefore looking for smart solutions, but environmental concerns are nevertheless top of their minds. About one third of the entries offer distinct ecological benefits.

Concept example within the ‘Greengineering’ trend: Flatshare, the modular fridge solution for shared living spaces (1st place winner), by Stefan Buchberger, Vienna University of Applied Arts Austria.

4. Tutoring ‘n sharing (lab 2.0)
New technology does not transform society. Society transforms itself using new technology. The line between online and offline living is blurring. So far, the Internet, far from destroying community spirit and human relationships, has fostered them. A quarter of the entries offer direct access to the Worldwide Web, not only to seek (passive) guidance by digital step-by-step tutors or to reduce avoidable waste, but also (and gradually more) to share domestic/kitchen experiences with friends. The kitchen version of Web 2.0—Lab 2.0—has arrived and is here to stay!

Concept example within the ‘tutoring ‘n sharing’ trend: Sook, the social networking recipe generator with electronic tongue, by Adam Brodowski, Savannah College of Art and Design, USA.

5. Eve-tech
Curves—commonly associated with design for women—are tempered with clean lines and simple angles. The ‘womenomics’ trend has redefined the role of design: designers are increasingly incorporating the right female touch points into the objects they are designing. Eve-tech devices have fluid, curvi-linear, clean and simple forms: the ambassador of (domestic) eve-tech design is the egg, primeval design by Mother Nature!

Concept examples within the ‘eve-tech’ trend: E-bag, the kinetic energy-powered cooler bag, by Apore Püspöki, Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design, Budapest, Hungary, and Stratosphere, the sanitizing clothes rack/valet, by Atilla Sáfrány, Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design, Budapest, Hungary.

6. Happycare
In an increasingly complicated, insecure, harsh and hostile world, consumers are protecting and enhancing their physical and emotional wellbeing. Design is able to offer psychological cushioning against daily life stress. Happycare-design is about adding happiness, humour and good vibes in the comfort zone.

Concept example within the ‘happycare’ trend: Scan Toaster, the USB toaster that prints news, weather and snapshots onto slices of toast, by Sung Bae Chang, Sejong University, South Korea.

The Electrolux iGeneration Trend Report 2008 was compiled by Belgian trend watcher Herman Konings, General Manager of the NXT trend agency in Antwerp.

About Electrolux Design Lab
Established in 2003, Electrolux Design Lab is an annual global design competition open to undergraduate and graduate industrial design students who are invited to present innovative ideas for household appliances of the future. Over the years, Design Lab has received thousands of entries from students in more than 100 countries.

Design Lab has led directly to jobs and business opportunities in the design field for many of the contestants. Three finalists are currently employed in one of the Electrolux Global Design centers and last year’s winner is doing his 6-month internship. Others have gone on to found successful design businesses.

The competition has had different themes and culminates in a new city every year at an international press event. The 2009 theme is Designs for the next 90 years and the finals will be held in London on September 24. Previous themes and venues include: Designs for the Internet generation, Zurich, 2008; Green designs, Paris, 2007; Designs for healthy eating, Barcelona, 2006; Designs of the future, Stockholm, 2005; Designs of the future, New York, 2004; User-driven solutions, Budapest, 2003.

For more information and press materials visit

Media inquiries contact: Frédérique Pirenne; PR Manager Europe
Tel: +46 8 738 64 93