ASKO - Form follows function – or does it?

Form follows function – or does it?

You may have heard the phrase ‘form follows function’, in reference to functional design concepts in architecture, engineering and even information technology. But if you own an ASKO appliance, you have your very own piece of functional design in your home – and a stunning example at that.

According to Pernilla Hage Dose, Senior Industrial Designer at ASKO, the origins of functional design are intricately linked to the unique tenets of the Scandinavian existence. A historically poor region, lacking the dense population elsewhere in Europe, the early inhabitants of Scandinavia learnt to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. The unkind climate added to their woes, and they were squarely focused on survival.

As a result, there was little time or imagination left for decoration that served no function – hence the stripped-back, uncluttered aesthetic Scandi design is famous for.

Scandinavian history is decidedly void of the “style over substance” trends that have dominated other cultures. You won’t find the ornamental paintings and impractical, decorative architecture prevalent in the Arab world, nor will you see American-esque “bigger is better” designs. On the contrary, the Scandi vibe is all about high-density function – every item is filled to the brim with content, with no space wasted.

With function taking priority over form, it’s important that the mechanisms and materials required to build an appliance become the design, as opposed to a pretty façade being slapped on as an afterthought. Pernilla says an excellent example of this is ASKO’s new washing machines and dryers. While traditional machines have a plastic panel on the top, ASKO have excluded this in their new design in favour of a steel plate – there is simply no need for added plastic, and the differences don’t stop there.

On other washing machines, you’ll find two internal legs, and a rubber bellow sitting before the drum, with the door mounted onto the drum itself. Compare this to an ASKO machine, with four support legs, SteelSeal and a drum that is almost completely separate from the outer shell.

The four legs of the Quattro system serve as shock absorbers, virtually eliminating vibration. This ensures quieter operation, and a longer lifespan for the appliance. No rubber means dirt, grime and mould won’t build up over time, giving a more hygienic wash, and clothes won’t get stuck and ruined, as they can if they are dragged over a rubber bellow. It also means less maintenance for the user, as regular cleaning isn’t required. 

To develop this marriage between high function and pleasing form, ASKO relies on tight collaboration between the research and development and design teams. Unlike other appliance manufacturers, who may only get the designers involved towards the end of a project, ASKO’s teams work side by side throughout the process, and the results speak for themselves.

For instance, a key legacy of the unique Scandinavian experience is the focus on quality. Pernilla says that in a society teetering constantly on the brink of poverty, people simply couldn’t afford to have essential items break down. As such, durability is of the utmost importance, with ASKO appliances designed to have four times the life expectancy of competitor’s models. It’s the polar opposite to the throw-away, consumer-driven culture many of us are accustomed to, and this approach is also a big plus for the environment.

There’s nothing to repair or replace, saving money and effort over the life of the appliance, and to top it off, the washer has 5-star WELS and water consumption ratings, thanks to SensiSave technology – a win for the customer in the form of lower bills, and the planet too.

Functional design in ASKO’s range of home appliances equals longevity and durability, ensures user-friendly operation without compromising on the latest high-tech inclusions, and keeps the ecological footprint to a minimum. It’s these features, interwoven with timeless Scandi design, that make an ASKO appliance a true investment in any home.