When it comes to functional appliances in my home, I’m not really particular with the design since I don’t have a specific aesthetic that I’m going for. What I need is something that’s affordable, can fit into my small space, and can do what needs to be done. Every once in a while though, when I see something that has a cute design, it piques my interest. Most of the time though these are just product concepts so I’m not really sure if it will translate well when it becomes a consumer product.
Designer: Yathin Krishna
This concept for an automatic front-load washing machine caught my attention because of its retro design. The Toshin Machine looks like a toy rather than an actual washing machine, looking like a cross between a lego set, a game boy and some other retro-futuristic kinds of devices. But it was designed to be an actual machine that should be able to automate your clothes-washing experience, whether you’re going for a quick wash or a steam clean and has a moon crystal drum and smart automated select features.
While you’d probably want to thoroughly wash your clothes, there are times when you don’t have enough time so the Quick Wash feature should come in handy. The Steam Clean is there so you can give your clothes a deep clean when you need to. Inside, you get a moon crystal drum with shaped ridges bringing a gentle tumble to your clothes when they’re being washed and the small exit water holes in the drum actually protect your fabric from being caught in the whirl.
The Toshin Machine also is designed to have a smart select AI that will suggest to you what’s the best mode to set for your machine depending on the weight data. Design-wise, the retro-futuristic look is pretty interesting as you don’t see a lot of washing machines with that kind of design. Now whether that will translate into an actual fully functional piece of appliance that both looks cute and does what it needs to do is another question. Even though I don’t wash clothes at home, I wouldn’t mind having this if it makes my life easier and if it looks that cute.
If you go camping regularly, sometimes during different seasons and with different people, you probably have different kinds of tents that will suit the environment and the company. But what if you could have just one tent which you can adjust and change the shape to suit your needs and the number of people that can stay inside? Of course you would want to have that one instead of having several at your disposal (unless you plan to collect different kinds of tents of course).
Designer: Yeonguk Choi
The 2/3 home is a concept for a backpacking tent that can be expanded, folded, and changed depending on what you need, what season it is, and how many people will be staying inside. It’s a combination of tunnel-type tents and alpine tents but with supposedly much easier ways to assemble, pack, store. The designers experimented with different kinds of materials and types of tents until they were able to find and develop a concept that can hopefully become an actual multi-functional tent.
Using woodwork and nylon 15D fabric in the trial and error phase, they were able to come up with something that works using 20D fabric and Monolite lip-stop nylon mesh for the ventilation part. They also used various plastic subsidiary materials for the other parts and DAC press fit 8.7mm for its tent pole. Basically, the final product is “a backpacking tent that expands with you”. The Duo Mode, as its name states, is meant for two people with an alpine tent model while the Trio Mode is the expansion mode that can accommodate three people.
The Duo Mode is compact, easily installed with its one main pole and two ridge poles. Aside from its small size, it’s also built to withstand some strong weather conditions including strong winds with its bow-like bent tent. It’s also more “livable” than the normal alpine tent since the interior has a hexagonal shape. The Trio Mode is where you can add a separate tent extension to connect to the duo mode. Aside from being able to fit in three people, it’s more habitable because you get more space and is recommended for use during winter.
One of the lifestyles that sprouted during the pandemic that still carries over during these almost post-pandemic times is the emergence of the plant parents. I still wasn’t able to bring out my green thumb even though I tried taking care of one or two, they would eventually die. I’m still open to trying again so I’m on the lookout for things that may help me finally be able to keep a plant alive for more than two weeks.
Designer: Only Studio, Jason Luo, Sam Cheng
Ta’care is a minimal plant shelf that is easy to carry around so you can move your plants where you need them to be whether you have a small space or a bigger one. It has a simple design with a clean structure and monochromatic color. It is more functional than decorative and will allow your plants to be the main focus, as they should be.
It is made from simple metal tubes and sheets and the top part forms a handle that allows you to carry the shelf with the plants so you can bring them to the balcony or near the window so they can get natural sunlight or bring to the living room to protect them from the weather.
In case there is a lack of natural light, Ta’care also has 6 full LED lights to give your plants the light it needs to survive. This is also easily customizable so it can adapt to the number of shelves or levels as well as the design that you actually need to keep your plant babies not just alive but also looking good.
It’s probably not a guarantee that if I use this plant shelf, my plants will stay alive. But it probably gives them a better chance at least of being carried around to a space where they can get better light and air. And it looks pretty so there’s that bonus as well.
One of the constant challenges for me personally is to find a workout that I will not get bored with, that will help me shed pounds, and that will not be so difficult. I know that probably said workout that meets all those factors still doesn’t exist but when the day comes when that will happen will probably be the happiest day of my life (and my doctor too). For now, I’m always on the lookout for products or at least concepts that may appeal to this couch potato who’s desperately in need of a workout.
Designers: Katerina Kopytina, Nikita Bukuros
One such product concept that is pretty interesting is Bownce, a small ball that can get your perspiring and training your muscle groups with the help of technology. It calls itself “the first IoT ball of its kind”. It is small enough and easy to install that you can bring it with you to the office, outside in your backyard, or wherever room/space in your house you feel most comfortable. It’s also small enough that it’s not that intimidating, especially for newbies like me that want to start punching things.
What makes it different from other workout balls, aside from its size, is that it has integrated electric components so you’ll be able to track your performance. The app that you connect to the device logs your punches when you work out and gives you real-time statistics so you can adjust how you punch, how fast you do it, the force, duration, etc. The device is attached to the ceiling and the floor, with a small ball on a string and it is connected to the app.
Think of it as a punching bag that’s not a bag but a small ball. The floor fixture is able to let the ball move freely and bounce back (hence, the name) after hitting. I don’t know about the force needed to hit the ball but it seems that you need some to be able to consider this a workout anyway. The fact that it looks simple and not overwhelming like your usual punching stuff is what appeals to me. The fact that it’s IoT also is a bonus. Now whether I won’t get bored with it is the main question.
For those who have cats (or any pets for that matter) at home, I can imagine that it’s a constant balance of keeping them entertained and also keeping them from ransacking your space. I am not a pet owner (ooohing and aaahing at cute pets is the only thing I can do) but I see my friends trying to solve this issue by getting all kinds of accessories and tools for their fur babies, including the very instagrammable cat trees. But what if you have a small space and you need something that can be both for you and your cat?
Designer: S2Victor Design Studios
Petpartment is a concept for a space for both the cat and the cat owner so you can have a “beautiful life with your beloved pets”. What makes it different from the usual cat trees is that it doesn’t just let your cat be like Obi-Wan Kenobi and have the higher ground. It’s actually meant to be decorative and functional for both of you and hide those interiors that you don’t want them to harm while they’re playing or going about their day.
The architecture of this pet apartment is well thought out and actually has four different angles with different functions as well. The front view is a showcase of the material used which is red oak and stainless steel. It looks like a bookshelf but instead of filling it with books, you can fill it with a cat or two. But there’s also room for books as the left side has storage space for both your stuff and your cat’s snacks, toys, etc. I just don’t know if I can trust cats to be around my beloved books but that’s just me, a non-pet person.
The right side is where your cats are meant to go crazy since it’s designed as their playground. The rear view is meant to be their “viewing deck” if the Petpartment is placed near a window. So there you have it, four different views and angles to play around if you need your cat’s apartment within your apartment be something that you can use too. It’s a nice piece of furniture to have in your space, maybe even if you don’t have any pets at all.
Whether we’re in a pandemic or at the tail end of it, it’s important that we’re breathing in good air even when we’re indoors. Air purification systems have become a necessity, especially for spaces where a lot of people go in and out. Sometimes though just one stationary purifier will not be enough, whether it’s a small place or a big one. What if you could have a couple of air purifiers that can go around the room and do the job?
The idea behind the Ultro air purification system is to have something that can work both stationary and mobile. Basically, think of it as a combination of a drone and an air purifier. You can have it just clean the air surrounding it when it’s docked into the station. But if you release it from its docking mode and let it go mobile, it can go around the room and clean the air through its ultraviolet light power. The main purpose is of course to help prevent airborne diseases from going around and infecting the people in the room.
In case you have a phobia of blades hitting people, the device has a protective “diaphragm” that protects people from the blades but still lets it perform its function. The system looks like a mini satellite dish stand while the mobile drone looks like your typical drone. The body is made from aluminum while the legs are wooden. The rotors have a coaxial arrangement which makes it ideal for when the drone is in the station and it can perform its fan function. It can also serve as a floor lamp since there is an LED backlight on the edges.
Just like with an ordinary drone, you need to configure things on its accompanying smart app. In fact, the actual device only has one physical button (a configurable one) so everything else has to be done through the app. It can work on its own but if you have a bigger area like a hospital, school, or a public space, it’s ideal to have several stations in the area and the drone part can move in between these stations while it’s purifying the area around it.
When you’re going outdoors either for camping, a beach trip, a hike up the mountain, or anywhere that will not have electricity or a nearby restaurant, a stove or any kind of cooking device would be a useful thing to bring with you. Of course, it would have to be something portable unless you want to drag your home stove with you in the great outdoors. When it comes to portable stoves or grills, there are several available in the market. Well-designed ones are of course always welcome to the table.
Designer: Yifeeling Design Lab
The Lava Box is a concept for a portable stove that looks minimalist, classy, and not at all like the usual that you see being carried around in campsites and beaches. In fact, you might think it’s a vinyl player or a projector or a luxury box. They’re actually some of the design inspirations for this stove or rather the moodboard used in coming up with the final look. What you get is a box with a cover and when you open it, that’s where the stove shows itself.
It’s a single burner with a refillable butane gas container fitting right under it. There’s a wooden know on the right that lets you adjust the flame level for things like when you’re heating water, frying something, or grilling pieces of meat. There are also wooden handles on the side for when you need to move the stove when it’s in use or has recently been used and you don’t want to burn your fingers. The stove seems to be made from metal while the handles and cover are wooden.
From the product renders, you can see options for a black or white Lava Box with both having the wooden cover, handles, and knobs. It does look classy and small enough to carry with you on your outdoor trip. Hopefully, it works well enough to provide you with sustenance whether you’re swimming or camping or hiking.
One of the changes that happened during the pandemic is that we’re now over-reliant on courier services to send our packages, whether same day deliveries or days-later shipping. I mean sure, we did that before the pandemic, but during the two years when we couldn’t see each other much, we relied on these services to get our packages to get where they need to without our intervention. So now we’re also seeing some innovations in the logistics industry and soon enough, we might even see robots doing the job.
Designer: Minwook Jang
Co-op or Cooperation Delivery Robot is a concept for a futuristic society where robots will be the ones delivering our packages, whether they’re small or large packages. It’s actually a modular design where the number of robots working together depends on the size of the parcel and the number of packages that will be delivered in a certain area. It uses the idea of cluster driving as it goes to one area and once the delivery has been completed, it returns to the hub together.
The robots look like those roving machines in the mall and airport that you can ask for directions or information but instead of the LED screens, you get a space for the packages. The design makes it look like the robot is smiling or at the very least friendly. It uses a camera sensor with a light on the front for night driving. There’s also an emergency stop button in the rear so users can press it in case there’s an emergency or there’s a need to stop the robot manually.
I’m not really sure how these robots can function on a main road with all the cars, trucks, and other vehicles that will be riding alongside or going around it. It may work in roads that don’t have a lot of vehicular traffic but automated vehicles are still not a big part of a lot of cities for now. It’s a good idea as a concept so maybe we’ll see something like this in a few years time. I’m still not ready to have robot overlords though so hopefully that will not be happening anytime soon.
Who doesn’t love looking at flowers? Most people will most likely give a sigh (even a silent one) whenever they see beautiful arrangements of fresh flowers. The sad thing though is that they often don’t last for a long time. Unless you have a constant supply of fresh ones readily available, you’ll probably have them for just a couple of days at most. If they’re real flowers, of course, they cannot last forever as that’s their very nature. But what if you could prolong it for a few days more?
Designers: Heejun Shin and Janchi
Flora is a concept for a flower refrigerator and dryer that can do just that. At most, cut flowers, even when you take care of them properly, can last for just a week. But with this concept, you can prolong it a bit longer because you’ll be able to control the temperature inside the device. And when you know that the lifespan of these flowers are about to end, you can also dry them in a controlled environment and preserve their memory to some extent and add to your decorations or even your journals.
The device basically looks like a picture frame where your flowers can stay a little while longer. The design is actually inspired by these frames as well as a mixture of smart speakers, refrigerators, and flower vases themselves. Each device has a flower vase inside where you can place your flowers for cooling. You can control the temperature between 6-18 degrees celsius. And when it’s time to dry the flowers, you just have to spin the Flora device upside down and use the drying vase to start the process.
The design is a simple frame with two types of pots to choose from, the regular flower pot an a drying pot. There are different vase designs as well. The device itself has some buttons at the top which you use to control things like the temperature, lighting, and drying. There’s also a monitor that will tell you what the temperature is like inside. This is a pretty interesting concept if you want your flowers preserved although you will be unable to stop and smell the flowers since they’re encased.
I live in a place where road traffic congestion has gotten so bad that you have to leave hours early to get to an appointment that is just in the next town or city. I sometimes suspect the government has given up on finding solutions to mobility and so we will eventually have to depend on private companies that will come up with experimental solutions to getting people and goods around the city more easily.
Designer: Half Company
The Bulgaria-based designers for the transport design studio is proposing a city-wide transport system called Halfgrid. It involves individual person-sized capsules moving around the city through suspended cables and powered by artificial intelligence. Basically, you can get a person and whatever goods you want to be transported to your destination on a separate layer above ground in order to not add to the continuous road congestion on the ground.
The system uses static cables and the pods are the ones that will be moving along the tensioned steel ropeways. This also means that each of the capsule units can travel to different destinations unlike with the traditional cable car system where everyone still has to get into a vehicle together. Each pod will be able to hold just one person or a certain-sized package and can be programmed to get to where they need to get to.
Passengers will be able to program everything through the app and choose a pickup point and a destination. Basically, it’s like booking an Uber except you’ll be traveling in a capsule above ground. The same system can be used for goods deliveries. The entire system is also designed to be “practically silent” so it will not add to the noise pollution that usually comes with road congestion.
I’m not that fond of heights so this is something that might not work for someone like me. But it would really be interesting to see how such a system can work in a city like where I live in. Now the next step is to create a prototype and find a partner and a pilot city that would be willing to try the Halfgrid out.