An empathic approach

The Swedish-born vacuum cleaner manufacturer Electrolux has become the world’s largest producer of powered appliances. What is the secret of its success? Sara Manuelli investigates

Insight gets coupled with foresight as trend managers scour the globe to pick up new fashions. A recent look at future cooking needs and social demographic patterns inspired some related products. Instead of freestanding cookers, Carney predicts the rise of quick flash cooking, dictated by our increasingly busy lives.

Since Electrolux’s goal is to produce ‘thoughtful design’, cross-cultural awareness plays a large part in devising domestic products. Circa, a barbecue outdoor cooker with a built-in refrigerator, hotplate, grill and wok burner, is targeted at an Australian and American outdoor-loving public, while fridges that filter water are a big success in developing countries. ‘We need an international mindset to acknowledge diversity,’ confirms Carney. With its global design network and determination to create worldwide product satisfaction, Electrolux seems well placed to stay at the top of the game.


Ergorapido – a range of cordless cleaners that have been designed so they can be displayed. Low level of noise.

Tamanna – fridge with FM radio, message recorder, digital clock with alarm, a door open alarm that is activated if the door is not closed properly, and an LCD panel for a clear view of the screen if the room is too dark.

Automower – a robot lawnmower designed like a grazing animal. The grass is cut continuously, but only a little at a time. It operates independently within a perimeter wire.

Hua Kotinga – a fruit storage and refrigeration unit that uses the basic technology of an air conditioning unit to circulate cool air around the fruit that is stored in three wall-mounted baskets.

Electrolux Design Management – based in Stockholm

Christian Klingspor – Senior vice-president, Design

Sean Carney – Global director, Brand and design strategy

Per Borjesson – Design director, Floorcare

Towe Ressman – Design director

Krista Webb – Global manager, Design strategy

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