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Compartmentalized Communal Fridges

The Staff Ice Bar Refrigerator Keeps Meals Tidy and Fresh

— May 22, 2017 — Art & Design
The design of this communal fridge was approached from a different perspective than most. Generally, the makers of refrigerators focus on separating distinctive types of foods into their own sections of the appliance, but this organizational strategy is unsatisfactory if the users are not all shopping and eating together.

What Ellie Zeng has done in the design of her Staff Lounge Ice Bar is to prioritize the space for storing individual meals, be they in containers already or comprised of assorted items. Each person can make use of a single compartment with its own temperature control, ventilation, and scent sealing, keeping its flavors locked in and unaffected by neighboring lunches.

All parts of this communal fridge are modular, from the freezer cubbies to the fruit trays, to the beverage bottle section. This touchscreen-fronted refrigerator demonstrates why it's important to revisit design conventions in appliances, as there is often a better suited way to cater to many users.
Trend Themes
1. Modular Communal Fridges - The trend of modular communal fridges is disrupting the traditional design of refrigeration appliances, catering to larger groups and individual needs at the same time.
2. Individual Compartmentalization - The trend of individual compartmentalization in communal fridges is offering the convenience of personalized food storage and preservation, which is becoming an important factor for many users.
3. Touchscreen Appliance Interfaces - The trend of touchscreen interfaces for refrigeration appliances is revolutionizing the way users interact with them, making it easier to control temperature, ventilation, and other settings, leading to new opportunities for appliance manufacturers.
Industry Implications
1. Commercial Catering - Modular and compartmentalized communal fridges are creating opportunities for commercial catering businesses to improve their storage and organization capabilities, resulting in better quality food and less waste.
2. Office Spaces - Individual compartmentalization in communal fridges is opening up opportunities for office spaces to provide better storage options, making it more convenient for employees to store and retrieve their meals at any time.
3. Appliance Manufacturing - The trend of touchscreen interfaces for refrigeration appliances is inspiring new innovation opportunities for appliance manufacturers, who can incorporate smarter controls and sensors to improve energy efficiency and user experience.
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