The jury has wielded the axe on the 25 semi-finalists in the Electrolux Design Lab competition, leaving just eight finalists from the original 1,300 entries to battle it out for the prize of a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design center and 5,000 Euros (approx. US$6,350). The 2010 brief asked industrial design students to consider how people will prepare and store food, wash clothes, and do dishes in the homes of 2050, when 74 percent of the global population are predicted to live in an urban environment. Let’s take a look at the lucky eight entries vying for the title.

External Refrigerator

Nicholas Hubert is a French industrial designer, based in Shanghai, China. He used his daily experiences there to come up with a creative solution for a space-saving food-cooling design – the External Refrigerator. Fixed directly on the outside wall of residential buildings, the concept is an elaboration on a way of life in northern China where food is kept on balconies in the winter to save space and energy. During cold seasons and at night, the low external temperatures are used to provide the right climate for items in the fridge. During warmer weather, the sun is used to transform light into energy through solar panels.

Dismount Washer

This solution that combines the cleaning vessel with the washing basket comes from Lichen Guo, a Chinese industrial design student. Recognizing conventional washing machines as an unnecessary space hog the dirty laundry capsule is placed on a wall mountable motor (or ‘energy stick’) which takes up very little space. The energy stick also dispenses steam to aid the cleansing process.

Bio Robot Refrigerator

This design comes from Yuriy Dmitriev, a Russian industrial design student. Four times smaller than a conventional refrigerator, this concept uses a special non-sticky, odor-free gel that morphs around products to create a separate pod that suspends items for easy access. Without doors, draws and a motor 90 percent of the appliance is solely given over to its intended purpose. At the same time, all food, drink and cooled products are readily available, odors are contained, and items are kept individually at their optimal temperature by bio robots. The fridge is adaptable – it can be hung vertically, horizontally, and even on the ceiling.

Eco Cleaner

Iranian design student Ahi Andy Mohsen, has created a dishwasher concept designed to clean and compost – for a time in the future when food may be supplied in capsule form. It uses ultrasonic waves to ionize food and turn it in to reusable waste.

Clean Closet

Michael Edenius is a Swedish design student, who designed a means of cleaning clothes without water. Textiles are scanned for impurities while they are hanging in the Clean Closet and cleaned accordingly with molecular technology that removes dirt and odors. The concept replaces the laundry basket, the washing machine, and drying cabinet to save space and, and uses no water.

Kitchen Elements

Matthew Gilbride, from the USA, designed a kitchen concept that combines cooking, air conditioning, refrigeration and lighting in a wall-mounted, flexible solution. The appliance draws power wirelessly through technology applied to the wall, which is supplemented through solar energy as required. Multiple units and surfaces automatically work together through wireless smart networking, whilst customization is offered by being able to install the units as the user prefers.

The Snail

An industrial design student from India, Peter Alwin, created a portable cooking and heating device that attaches to pots, pans and mugs to heat the contents. Powered by ‘replaceable high density sugar crystal battery’, the Snail converts the energy from the sugar, heating up a coil to conduct the magnetic induction process to the utensil. Inbuilt sensors detect the food type being heated so as to automatically adjust the time and temperature.

Kitchen Hideaway

Daniel Dobrogorsky, a design student from Australia, developed a virtual reality concept whereby the user puts on a helmet, thinks about the meal they would like, and their thoughts are transmitted to a team of robots working in the kitchen of the user’s communal building. The real meal is then delivered directly to their door.

The eight finalists will be invited to present their concept to a jury of expert designers on September 23rd 2010 at 100% Design in London, England. The jury will consider entries based on intuitive design, innovation and consumer insight. In addition to the first prize, a second prize of 3,000 Euros (Approx. US$3,810) and third prize of 2,000 Euros (approx. US$2,540) are also on offer.

See Electrolux Design Lab for more details.