Kiwi student invents fridge with no door

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Ben de la Roche demonstrating his revolutionary refrigerator design on a concept model at Massey University's industrial design studio in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Ben de la Roche demonstrating his revolutionary refrigerator design on a concept model at Massey University's industrial design studio in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The days of discovering forgotten leftovers at the back of the fridge will be over if an industrial design student from Wellington has his way.

Massey University third year undergraduate Ben de la Roche has come up with the idea for a quirky new refrigeration wall which has no door, all the contents on display and doesn't waste power when empty.

The wall is made up of hexagonal chambers in a honeycomb configuration. Each is covered by a plate which gives way when an item is inserted. When it's pushed back the item is refrigerated by pins around it.

The design - dubbed Impress - has earned Mr de la Roche a trip to Italy as one of 10 finalists in a worldwide competition run by Electrolux.

In describing his entry he said: "How many times have you put leftovers in the fridge and forgotten about them, only to come back a week later and find them spoiled? ... Impress is a refrigeration wall that holds your food and drinks for you, out in the open and not behind closed doors so you will always remember the lunch you prepared for work or find that midnight snack with ease."

The 10 finalists in the competition, being held in Milan next month, followed a brief which asked them to design home appliances that provided a fuller sensory experience.

Mr de la Roche designed Impress as part of a third-year project last semester. Despite being shortlisted as one of the best new designs in the world, he only got a B+ at university.

The 21-year-old attributes the difference to different briefs and joked that his classmates would be "absolutely fuming" he made it through.

Mr de la Roche will have to do a 10-minute presentation in front of a panel of judges and a large audience at the finals, which will be streamed on the internet.

"Luckily I don't suffer from any horrendous stagefright or anything like that, so it should be okay, but I'm sure I'll be a little nervous closer to the time.

"Mine is quite grounded in that the technology's quite available and it's quite realistic, I suppose, the other ones use technology that might not be around for another 100 years ... It depends on what the judges are looking for."

The 10 finalists were chosen from a shortlist of 30 which included a South Korean washing machine used like a hula hoop and a Canadian dish that transforms liquid into sound for blind people.

The winner will get 5000 euros and a six-month internship at an Electrolux office around the world.

- APNZ

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