Tobias Bihlmeyer & Ivo Erichsen

Juli / July - 2019

Fachhochschule Potsdam

What is it?

A vacuum cleaner concept that focuses on integrating the appliance into the living context in order to strengthen its non-task related functions.

What is the Topic?

Electronic household appliances, furniture and accessories are used in the same place, but are developed with intentions that differ too much. Household appliances are first and foremost understood as technical challenges for engineers to make certain functions repetitive. The aesthetics are oriented towards science fiction props and the automotive, aircraft and power tool industries to make their performance and function visible. Through this misunderstanding in design we are forced to life with industrial goods in our homes which does not respect its rules. Furniture design seems to take a much more sensible approach here, in which function and environment are brought into harmony. These different views of the functionality of objects in the context of living have created a communication gap between industrial design and furniture/product design. Wedged in this gap of thinking, the connection rarely succeeds and products with a "pseudo-aerodynamic" appearance and unsatisfactory haptics are designed, created by the inadequate imitation of high-quality materials. This type of design has caused a certain indifference towards electronic household appliances, which sometimes has an impact on their lifetime. Values change over time. Consumers of our generation are increasingly consuming under the premise of a political attitude towards ecology. It therefore no longer seems appropriate to continue injecting products into forms that do not fit into its environment. Based on this observation, we have developed a vacuum cleaner concept that is oriented towards the aesthetics of the living context and rethinks its use. A vacuum cleaner for home use is switched off for 90% of its lifetime, so we paid special attention to this condition when designing it.

Why does it look like this?

The design combines a cylindrical industrial vacuum cleaner with a bagless vacuum cleaner, creating storage space for the suction head, pipes and hose. In order to integrate particularly well into the living environment, the rotationally symmetrical body and its height are deliberately oriented at objects of the home and therefore offers options for conversion. The convex and flared lower part of the body serves as a bumper and is also the centre of gravity of the object.

What is special?

Shifting the focus away from the pure usage towards a holistic view of the device and its environment. On average, vacuum cleaners are in use for only 16 minutes per week, in the remaining 10,064 minutes they stand disturbingly in corners or are hidden. That's why we have designed a vacuum cleaner that works "ON" and "OFF", because our living space is precious and should not be disturbed by things that don't fit into their environment.

What is new?

The idea to design vacuum cleaners and technical devices for the home as part of the interiors. Storing all the attachments in the closed carcass enables individual, integrative, and efficient placement in any room. Three different wooden lids that specifically extend the concept by conversion possibilities and transform the vacuum cleaner into a stool, side table or clothes valet.