Beautiful work by the handful of students in Lund University's School of Industrial Design made the design festival rounds this year with "Yesterday Today Tomorrow," a series of future-thinking products that employ traditional craftsmanship, natural materials and the hand-driven mechanics of the days of yore.
Jiang Qian's Lo-Fi Washer, a human-powered washing machine, is a refreshing throwback to the days before electricity. With this project,Qian wanted to "see if low-technology appliances have any potential in modern society." One great aspect of the design is the ability to wash a small amount of clothing at a time, which may not seem like an advantage at first, but how often do you end up doing a big load of wash in order to justify cleaning that one shirt you want to wear tomorrow? Though I doubt the Lo-Fi Washer will catch on in a major way, it's still a great solution for delicate items that require hand laundering.
Gabriella Rubin and Kornelia Knutson reconsider the kitchen with Root, a food storage system that bucks conventional refrigeration with a compartmentalized cabinet. Each section has a different temperature and humidity specially calibrated for different kinds of food. This method not only saves energy, it helps your groceries last longer. The set-up can easily be customized to fit whatever space you have available in your kitchen, whether you only have enough room for a mini-fridge (or, in this case, a mini-Root) or you want the full-sized model. From an aesthetic point of view I love the idea of storing my produce in a wooden unit, and Rubin and Knutson have tricked out the cabinets with extra features like a magnetized wooden strip to hold cans, helping you get the most out of the space.
See all of the products here (PDF).