Electrolux challenges conventional design with University students on a global scale.

Eight design schools on five continents to support future concept appliance development.

Eight leading design institutions from across the world have taken on the challenge to support Electrolux in its drive to develop household appliance designs of the future. From Australia to the United States and China to Sweden, students will design household appliances intended to make "life a little easier for consumers", wherever they may be. Electrolux and experts from various related fields will judge individual contributions and present awards in various categories at a ceremony in New York City in the latter part of 2004.

Participating institutions are the University of New South Wales in Australia, Umeå University in Sweden, Central St. Martin’s College in the UK, Porto Design School in Portugal, ESDI Design School in Brazil, the University of Notre Dame in the U.S., the Design School of Southern Yangtze University in China and a collaboration between VSUP in Czech Republic and Bratislava Design School in Slovakia.

The Design Laboratory 2004 is a follow-up of its European predecessor, which ran in 2003. During that year, design institutions from Milan, Budapest, Paris and Stuttgart developed new appliance concepts within a European framework. Many of those concept appliances are now being further investigated for potential production in the near future.

In 2004, the design schools will work on appliances from four product areas: cooking, laundry, refrigeration and dishwashing. Students will explore current technologies in the sector and attempt to move beyond these by developing new and intriguing solutions for its future audiences.

Keeping in line with Electrolux’s brand strategy, the institutions will target specific consumer segments identified as "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". The segments are based on recent research conducted by Electrolux, where more than 6.000 face-to-face interviews with consumers in key markets were held. Each school will design and develop their own concepts, building the first prototypes for initial presentation. The goal of the teams is to satisfy the consumer segments’ needs as interpreted by them.

"In our many thousand conversations with, and studies around, consumers it has become clear that design is a deciding factor when household appliances are purchased. With the kitchen increasingly becoming the center of many households, design has become an expression of its owners’ lifestyle", says Sean Carney, Director of Design at Electrolux. "We have high expectations from this project, which yielded some astounding results last year in Europe. It is very exciting to see what students from five different continents will come up with."

Electrolux, the world’s largest producer of powered appliances for kitchen, cleaning and outdoor use, supplies customers in more than 150 countries with more than 55 million products annually for both consumer and professional use. With such a large geographical and cultural area to cover, the company is continuously seeking new ways to provide solutions to consumers, meeting their specific needs, wherever they may be. The International nature of The Design Laboratory 2004 will help drive Electrolux’s continued efforts to meet these global requirements.