LG Electronics recently tapped into the minds of students from across the Middle East and African region to grasp young people's concepts of what they think the future of kitchen design should be.
In its inaugural Conceptualife Competition, more than 900 university students entered the competition, of which eight were shortlisted from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran and South Africa to battle it out at the finals held at Zayed University in Dubai this month.
"We feel great ideas can come from raw fresh minds hence the students," said Hamad Malek, LG Director of marketing and communications for the Middle East and Africa. "The sheer design and technology elements incorporated into the designs gives us a good understanding of what consumers are looking for," he added.
Ali Kajuee, from Iran, won the first prize of $5,000 (Dh18,350) for his design titled "Ecoquina". His design showcased a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures in an eco-friendly kitchen with visible water tanks as his vision of a kitchen of the future.
Boutheina Mohammad from Zayed University came in fourth place and took home a cheque of $1,000 (Dh3,700) for her design "Connect Me". Her idea was to bring the world into the kitchen through holograms as an element of the future.
"Living in Dubai, the idea of globalisation and globalising cities is apparent because everything is so borderless," said Boutheina. "Since the world is becoming smaller I wanted to bring the whole world into my kitchen," she added.
Inspired by the idea of connection through technology, which brings people together yet separates them at the same, Boutheina's aim was to reconnect people with their families in the kitchen.
The most distinguished feature of "Connect Me" was the inclusion of a hologram. "This idea was first introduced by CNN at President Obama's inauguration and made me think that if you are away from home, you can still be there," said Boutheina. "[The hologram] was inspired by my father who is always travelling which could allow us to have a proper family meal," she added.
June Hawkins, interior designer and one of the three judges of the competition, said she does not think the kitchens of the future will be very different from what they are now. However, they will vary depending on where people live. She said the old trend was to have cluttered kitchens, while now it is all about space and compact storage. "In cities, spaces are limited so they may be more futuristic to make them as compact and organised as possible," she said. Hawkins does not deal with many students but believes the competition gave them a chance to express their ideas. "Students have quite crazy ideas which can be spacey and futuristic. They might not all be user-friendly but they [students] come up with ideas that can be incorporated with a user-friendly kitchen," she said.