The European kitchen and appliance designers, like Philips and Electrolux, often try to woo their customers with wild experimentation. At Philips, they are called "Design Probes" -- a research initiative that tracks trends and developments that may turn into real businesses.
Usually they are shiny and plastic; this year Philips designers Clive van Heerden and Jack Mama have created something completely different. They call it the Microbial Home, which sounds more like an antiseptic than a kitchen with such an interesting collection of design ideas, including bees, bioluminescent bacteria fed with poop gas, and a methane digester.
Says Clive van Heerden, senior director of design-led innovation at Philips Design:
Designers have an obligation to understand the urgency of the situation, and translate humanity’s needs into solutions. Energy-saving light bulbs will only take us so far. We need to push ourselves to rethink domestic appliances entirely, to rethink how homes consume energy, and how entire communities can pool resources.