Electrolux Design Lab 2014 winners a mix of sellable, beautiful, slightly odd and outright mad

Future Hunter Gatherer scoops the top spot

We revealed the Electrolux Design Lab finalists inOctober. Now the results are in, after a bonkers event in Paris, which is the capital of France.

After a gruelling process that involved questions from the esteemed judges that included, "Is wearing plastic clothes healthy?","Will they fall down or kill birds?", and"You just shot a cow. How do you explain that to your child?" the Electrolux Design Lab reached its conclusion last night.

The competition challenges design students to come up with life-improving concepts on the topics (this year) of "fabric care", "air quality" and "food enjoyment". The winner, Chinese-born, UK-based Pan Wang's Future Hunter Gatherer was from the last category, and fairly eccentric.

The device/service will challenge users to hunt and fish 3D holographic fish and animals in their home with a Wii-style controller, with the produce then being delivered to your door via the miracles of e-commerce, if you drop it into a virtual pot. Or, as Ms Wang puts it, "it brings a lot of fun and quality ingredients into your home."

On a scale from realistic to fanciful, the runners up were Pure Towel, a Dyson-esque UV towel-steriliser ("We have contact with people from all over the world. Cleanliness is important").

Lotus, an air purifier shaped like a flower with several smaller, ball-shaped air purifiers inside it, which came second in the contest ("You can put the balls near your face, near children. Air purifiers are not that common in Turkey").

UrbanCone came third and is another air purifier. The most aesthetically-pleasing concept, for our money, it's a semi-autonomous hover-drone designed to fly around and suck up air pollution ("When they collide with birds they don't kill them. It's like putting your finger in a fan; it's nothing").

Pete, a 3D printer that turns unwanted plastic bottles into polyester clothing via a simple interface and suspension of the laws of both physics and fashion ("The clothes can then be recycled into different clothes!").

And last but by no means least, there's Set To Mimic, which "connects wirelessly to your brain" in order to fool it into thinking that boring-but-healthy food is actually yummy trifle or steak ("It is food… for thought").

The latter, our favourite, was boosted by a bravura performance by designer Sorina Răsteanu, who claimed that "Cravings are made from bacteria," andshrugged off criticisms that it could be used for mind control ("lots of people have chips implanted in them!"), and that the device meant kids would never learn to enjoy eating vegetables (a slightly exasperated, "Children will probably eventually eat tomatoes of their own free will. I don't know!")

Overall, the imagination and enthusiasm on show was truly impressive, making most of the tech we're confronted with in real life seem workaday and dull. We expect Pure Towel to be on sale within five years, Lotus within ten and the rest, well… here's hoping, eh?

Duncan Bell
Duncan Bell

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years and fitness ever since he became middle aged and realised he could no longer rely solely on his boyish good looks. He used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."
Pre-lockdown Duncan was widely regarded as the best-dressed man ever to work for T3 – admittedly not saying much. Post-lockdown he is looking forward to wearing clothes other than shorts and hoodies again very soon, assuming he can still fit into them. He currently writes about cycling, fitness tech that isn’t too heavy, and all things kitchen and home related.