Some Insane-Sounding, Floating Balls Win the Electrolux Design Lab For 2012

By Sam Gibbs on at

Dyson's not the only one who holds a hotly-contested yearly design competition. The long-running Electrolux Design Lab has been pumping out weird and wonderful concepts for 10  straight-years now. This year is no exception, as the winning entry named 'Aeroball,' some magical floating balls, prove.

This year was all about the sensory experience in your home, primarily food-based -- something we can all get behind, I reckon, because everyone loves food, right? Anyway, yes, the winning entry was the Aeroball from Jan Ankiersztajn, which beat out 12,000 other entries to win the coveted prize. Lucky Jan wins a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design centre, plus £4,000 in his back pocket -- not bad for poor student.

The idea behind the Aeroball was to clean-up the foul-smelling air around you, all the while lighting up your place with a soft sensual glow like dozens of tiny fireflies. Apparently the little floating balls would be filled with helium and be covered in a luminescent air filter that would capture all the crap in your flat, and glow when it gets dark. Once its job was done, it would sink to the floor to be chucked. Sounds a bit far-fetched to me, but apparently not according to Jan. I doubt scientists would be too chuffed with him using up all their helium though, considering these things are meant to be "as disposable as tissues". Anyway, the Aeroball fought off nine other design finalists to claim victory in the design-Mecca that is Milan, last night.

Runners up include a cool-looking hexagon-celled fridge called 'Impress', which you just bung your beer into to be cooled by blasts of sound; a stirring wand called 'Tastee' that tells you what to add to your masterful cooking concoction to enhance its sweet, bitter, sour, salty, or umami tastes, basically turning you into a professional chef, and a palm-reading coffee machine called 'Memory' that recognises who you are and pumps out your favourite caffeine-rich beverage.

Of course, most of these concepts are highly unlikely to make it into production -- floating helium-filled disposable balls? Come on now -- but it just goes to show that the recession hasn't killed off wacky and far-out-there design ideas. Hats off to the girl who came up with the 'Treat' -- everyone needs a tree-shaped Tupperware holder-come-steam cooker in their life, right?