Design Makes a Difference: The Future Is Here

The forward-looking designs of the Electrolux competition [] are great for a number of reasons: they are smart, thoughtful concepts that make living green even easier and they solve some persistent problems (and isn’t that what great design is supposed to do?). Got food waste? Want to save water? Looking to breathe easy? They’ve got you covered.

Electrolux isn’t the only fish in the sustainable design sea, though.
Some have even made it all the way from concept to production, and are helping make our world a little greener today. Here’s a glimpse into the not-so-distant future.

1) Looking to do some designing of your own? Be sure to read the Okala Design Guide [], created to help designers navigate through the options and make the least environmentally taxing and most beneficial decision when it comes to materials, manufacturing and other lifecycle-related variables.
2) Electricity-producing roads, a zero-energy home and a smart rainwater collector (the last two are pictured in the top image) are just a few of the cool sustainable designs entered in NASA’s Create the Future Design Contest []. The contest, which tasks entrants to “Demonstrate your design and engineering skills. Share your best ideas for new products. Compete and win great prizes. Become famous.”
3) Halfway around the world in Sweden, an event called Designboost [] busily (and effectively) worked to re-think what sustainability really means, and how design should be integrated into everything we touch.
4) The eponymous Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum [] hosts a People’s Design Award each year, and this year, sustainability ruled as TOMS Shoes (pictured above) took the top prize.
5) The Business for Social Responsibility [] (BSR) Conference has embraced design as a central focus of a sustainable future; 82% of attendants said they are optimistic that companies around the world will embrace corporate responsibility as a core business and operations strategy in the next five years.
6) When it comes to actual products, we want GE’s Kitchen of the future []. Now. “The entire suite offers a full-width display combined with touch sensors across the entire surface. What does that mean for consumers? Imagine new possibilities for recipe presentation and entertainment. In total, this surface affords multiple levels of interaction and the navigation of complex information.”
7) In a great success story, from breathtaking concept to mind-blowing production vehicle, the Aptera [] (pictured below) promised 300 miles per gallon and 120 miles of all-electric range in two separate but equally impressive vehicles that are available for pre-order now. Hooray for the future, arriving today!