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Grundig and the Future of Food, Design and Interaction

The appliance-maker thinks about the home, but also the globe

by Paolo Ferrarini
on 27 September 2016

When it comes to designing and engineering household appliances, one of the most significant issues is energy and water consumption. But the waste of other precious resources (like food) is also the driving force behind Grundig's most recent projects. The brand—whose mantra is "Respect For Food"—was founded in 1930 by Max Grundig and started off making radios, now they make 500+ products for every room of the house. Today Grundig is part of Arçelik, a Turkish company that counts more than 27,000 employees, 10 brands and 14 production facilities all over the world.

Arcelik's CEO Hakan Bulgurlu says, "Future is making something about today,” and this is true of the company's approach to smart homes and sustainability. The brand's newest appliances focus on keeping food in the best conditions for as long as possible—ultimately limiting waste. A new cooling oven refrigerates food until it's time to cook, and can be controlled with a dedicated app (perfect for starting dinner on your way home). Grundig's most advanced refrigerators feature a "freshmeter," a sensor that measures the freshness of food analyzing its gas emissions.

Our favorite new product is the herb garden for its clean design, but also its practicality—growing herbs at home isn't just sustainable, it's cost effective. Every step is automated, from the regulation of the intensity of light to the level of humidity and temperature, like in a smart greenhouse.

Grundig's Head of Industrial Design, Serdal Korkut Avci, tells us, “I have been analyzing consumers for years and you can see the change of expectations and requests... We know that everybody needs time. So we’re trying to just focus on the time and trying to make things as quick as possible, as simple as possible, in the devices as well as in the services." It's this practical approach, firmly based in making technology work for humans, that results in user-friendly products. Avci continues, "In today’s world, with all that technology and expectation of the consumer, you cannot just focus on the form of the product. We are not saying 'form follows function' anymore, instead we’re trying to say 'form follows interaction.' That’s what we try to focus on and provide solutions before they’re requested.”

Of course this isn't just about saving time and family budgets, food waste is a global issue. According to UN statistics, one-third of the food produced in the world goes to waste—that's more than a billion tons per year. Grundig is thus supporting Food For Soul, a non-profit organization run by chef Massimo Bottura. While many of us feel small compared to such huge issues, every step in the right direction—no matter how big or small—is important, and thinking globally is always for the best.

Lead image courtesy of Grundig, all others by Paolo Ferrarini

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