Electrolux AB

Design Laboratory Project key driver to new Electrolux design

Pressmeddelande   •   Dec 08, 2003 17:06 CET

The Electrolux Design Laboratory invited four leading European Design Universities earlier this year to create ideas around the theme "providing an easier more enjoyable life for the consumer". In late October, each university presented a series of concept products, each a unique and challenge piece of future household appliance design. Several concepts may be further developed into actual products designed to be feasible and marketable around 2010.

Participating institutions are the Politecnico Milano in Italy, SADBK Stuttgart from Germany, France’s ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris, and the Hungarian University of Craft and Design in Budapest. Four teams, of around four students, represent each school. The Electrolux Design Laboratory project originally invited the four industrial design faculties and students to create 100% user-driven solutions to genuine consumer needs in four product areas: cooking, laundry, refrigeration and dishwashing.

Design Driven by consumer insight
The Design Laboratory is part of Electrolux’s recently implemented brand strategy based on extensive consumer research in key European markets. As opposed to traditional ways of positioning household appliance brands, according to technical features and price, the company has taken a unique "needs-based" approach. Electrolux will target their brands at consumer segments that are characterized by emotional needs rather than technical requirements.

- "Electrolux is taking a deep interest in how people live their lives at home. Knowing that it is often minor issues in managing a household that cause frustration and stress, the Design Laboratory, in alignment with the brand strategy, aims to reduce some of these in the near future", says Sean Carney, Design Director at Electrolux Europe. – "By targeting time consuming issues, the company is aiming to provide consumers with a richer and more rewarding life, offering them more space to do the things they really want to do."

When building an understanding of users needs, Electrolux often uses a technique based on observational research. This practice calls on the sciences of anthropology and ethnography to study real people in real situations. For the company, this means sending design, Research and Development and marketing staff into people’s homes to document how they interact with their machines. The aim of this is to identify latent needs that users may not be able to tell you about since they are subconsciously finding their way around a problem. The Electrolux Design Laboratory plays a key role in this continued research, opening up an opportunity to combine design leadership with the students’ personal consumer insight.

"These students are unencumbered by false assumptions of what is and is not possible. In their projects, the teams proved that they were unafraid to break the mold by creating innovative, non-traditional ways of delivering on the Electrolux Brand Promise: to offer intelligent solutions that make people’s lives easier and more enjoyable", concludes Carney.