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Shaping the world through design

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The Dynamica incorporates the style, functionality and green efficiency often found in Swedish design.Design for the future - the winner of the Electrolux Design lab competition 2010, The Snail, is a small, portable induction heater powered by sugar crystals.Design for the future - the winner of the Electrolux Design lab competition 2010, The Snail, is a small, portable induction heater powered by sugar crystals.

It produced Abba and some great meatballs, but chances are that when you think of Sweden, great design is the first association that comes to mind.

With good reason. Swedish design has increasingly gained international recognition in recent times, especially where furniture, household appliances and all things around the home are concerned.

“Designed in Sweden” household products tend to serve several purposes. They are space-saving and utilitarian, yet stylish and oftentimes eco-friendly.

Take the Dynamica vacuum cleaner by Electrolux for example. This sleek, light stick vac  features a double jointed floor nozzle that enables it to clean hard to reach corners and areas. A parking stand also enables users to simply store it conveniently in a corner of the room when not in use.

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The Dynamica incorporates the style, functionality and green efficiency often found in Swedish design.

And of course, as part of Electrolux’s Eco range, the vacuum is designed to maximise efficiency both in power usage and in ease of cleaning.   All this in a stylishly designed 1.6kg appliance.

Swedish design underwent a re-invention approximately a decade ago, as design students and graduates began to shift their focus from technology, materials and function to expressing themselves through their products. Using their designs, they strove to tell stories with the things they made.

Many, like Ola Lantz, Senior Industrial Designer at Electrolux, found inspiration and new outlets internationally. Currently based in Singapore, the region has provided design influences and challenges for Lantz, “Designing for the Asian market is very different, and it’s challenging at times to step out of your own comfort zone when it comes to styling and design.  On the other hand it’s also fun as it allows you to do some amazing and expressive designs, which you wouldn’t be able to do for the European market.”

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Design for the future – the winner of the Electrolux Design lab competition 2010, The Snail, is a small, portable induction heater powered by sugar crystals.

Electrolux has internalised Swedish design’s focus on the user.  Its brand philosophy “Thinking of You” encapsulates its thoughtful design approach in creating new products. Questions such as “What frustrates consumers?”, “What can be done better?”, “How well does it answer the particular need?” and “Can anyone make it work?” are answered with each new Electrolux offering.

The biggest question Swedish design tries to answer, however, is that of sustainability. While creating environmentally friendly products for mass consumption may seem somewhat contradictory, that has not prevented more Swedish producers from  adopting environmental policies in design and production.

In fact, one could say that designers are the key to helping manufacturers achieve sustainable development.  By creating innovative and green designs by which products are made, designers add value by applying new energy-efficient and sustainable solutions to everyday appliances, much like in Electrolux’s eco-range of household appliances.

As more major manufacturers strive to incorporate these elements of Swedish design, one wonders if it just might be the crucial link ensuring future generations continue to enjoy Abba and meatballs in their eco-friendly homes.

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