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Designing a winning experience for the Electrolux Design Lab 2012

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An idea for a floating air purifier that doubles as a lighting fixture for the home has lit up the future for Jan Ankiersztajn. The Polish design student at the Uniwersytet Artystyczny Poznaniu recently beat out 1,200 designs from over 50 countries with his Aeroball concept, to take home top honours at the Electrolux Design Lab (EDL) 2012. 

EDL 2012 winner Jan Ankiersztajn is a Polish student designer who draws inspiration from nature for his concepts.

Overcoming a fear of public speaking, Ankiersztajn presented his idea to a crowd of international journalists, designers and a jury panel made up of top design professionals at this year’s finals in Milan.  The Aeroball was deemed to have best met the competition’s “Design Experience” theme, and earned him the top prize of 5,000 Euros in prize money as well as a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux Global Design Center.

We catch up with Ankiersztajn on what it’s like to win the EDL and how a great design concept is born.

How did you come up with the winning Aeroball design? 
From the very beginning I was thinking about designing an air filter. And I really wanted these air filters to hover in the air.

I wanted to approach the design of air fresheners in a unique way as existing air filters and air fresheners are designed to be discreet, hidden, or disguised.  I wanted to create a product that would be aesthetically valuable in its own right.

The basic concept sketch for the Aeroball, which won Ankiersztajn a six month paid internship at an Electrolux Global Design Centre and 5,000 Euros.
For me, nature is a primary source of inspiration. What inspired my concept was the structure and construction of living organisms – they have simplicity in use and detail which stimulates the imagination.

At night, the Aeroball looks like a firefly because just like this insect, when it’s dark, the Aeroball emits light.

Has winning the EDL changed your plans for the future in any way? 
Yes, I think that I’ll stay more focused on design rather than architecture. Winning the EDL encouraged me to think more about a career in design.

I don’t know what I’ll do with the prize money yet. The most important part of the award is the six-month internship at the Electrolux Design Center. It’s an incredible chance to be a part of the design process of a global company.

What was the most memorable experience that you took away from the EDL? 
The EDL competition was a big worldwide event, and it was wonderful that I could be a part of it. It was a great experience.

The whole week in Milan was fantastic. I’ve never met so many interesting and pleasant people in one place, both the finalists and the EDL team.  Between the finalists, we’ve all become great friends and we’ll definitely be staying in touch with one another.

What advice would you give to future EDL participants? 
I would advise you to think independently, courageously and consistently. You should also be critical of your own thinking. The function of the product should be strongly connected with its appearance.

Which is your favourite Electrolux product? 
My favourite Electrolux product is the Ergorapido vacuum cleaner. My mother bought it a week ago and it’s really impressive. Every feature of the Ergorapido is functional and perfectly designed.

The EDL 2012 finals were held in Milan on October 25. Ankiersztajn overcame a fear of public speaking to present his concept to a crowd of design professionals and walked away victorious.
For me, the most annoying part of vacuuming the house with a standard vacuum cleaner is that you have to look for a socket to plug it in. With the Ergorapido, there is no need to do that. Cleaning is now more pleasant.

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