Electrolux fridge keeps students' food safe

Your leftover curry is safe from hungry housemates in the Flatshare fridge
Your leftover curry is safe from hungry housemates in the Flatshare fridge

The winner of Electrolux's Design Lab 2008 competition is Flatshare, a stackable fridge for houseshares that consists of a base station and up to four stackable modules.

The modules allow each person in a house to have his or her own chilling space and can be customized with colourful skins as well as with add-ons like bottle openers - and locks, presumably.

Handles on the side make it easy to transport the modules when the rent cheque bounces.

Flatshare is the brainchild of Stefan Buchberger, from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He noted "There is nothing more disgusting than a dirty fridge in a shared flat," before adding wisely, "It gets filthy because no one person feels responsible for cleaning it."

Spaced Lab

Electrolux's annual Design Lab contest sees design students come up with a range of concept white goods that might just make it into future production.

It's well worth heading over to the Design Lab photo gallery on Flickr, where the Flatshare is shown stocked with orange juice and eggs. Today's design students are clearly a healthy bunch: when I was at college, fridges were all about half-eaten takeaway curries, boxes of German wine and jars of mysterious pickle.

Other bonkers products in the showcase include a kinetic-powered cooler bag, a Wi-Fi laundry hamper (for wireless bras?), a santizing clothes rack, a toaster that burns headlines on your wholewheat and a social networking recipe generator ("now with electronic tongue!").

For his efforts in de-grotting the student lifestyle, Stefan wins a six-month internship at an Electrolux global design centres and Euros 5000 (£3950), which should keep him in eggs and OJ throughout his work placement.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.