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Laundry research leads to international design competition

29 May 2013

A student has organised an innovative home design competition following his research into how different cultures carry out daily household tasks.

Image: Shutterstock

Jak Spencer, a Loughborough Design School PhD student who is part of the Sustainable Design Research Group within the School, has conducted a study into the cultural differences of the laundry process across Brazil, India and the UK. On analysis of the results Jak found huge differences in the sustainability of the washing process across the regions.

It was from the results that Jak came up with the idea of using the conclusions of his research to create an international competition open to designers and design students. The competition is being supported by Forum for the Future – a non-profit organisation that works towards developing a sustainable world – and gives entrants the opportunity to create a more sustainable laundry process using a design brief created from the research results. 

The design brief, as well as the judging criteria and entry information can be found at the competition website

It will be judged by a panel of sustainable design experts, which include Dr Debra Lilley, a Design Lecturer at the University, as well as Professor Aguinaldo Dos Santos, Head of the Design and Sustainability Research Centre at the Federal University of Parana in Brazil. 

Commenting on the research and the competition Jak said: “British processes are far more automatic. They involve less manual input and so people don’t see how much water they waste if they only carry out a half wash. In Brazil they see how much water goes in and comes out of the machine and so they only use as much water as they need.

“Another huge energy saving aspect is that they use cold water to wash as opposed to using hot water in Britain as it is just the cultural norm.”

“The competition is a great way for international designers to think about designing for different contexts and how we can promote more sustainable household behaviours. We hope to generate a lot of insightful and innovative designs.”

The competition closes on Friday 14 June. The winner will have the opportunity to present their design idea to the Innovation Team at Forum for the Future as well as receiving a Nexus 7 tablet. 


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