peach is a journey to the core of where we source our fruit and vegetables, gifting a memory of picking fruit from the tree, replicating the motions of gathering and harvesting in order to feed yourself and your family.

The unit is aimed at people who have sacrificed the basic enjoyment of a garden or vegetable plot for city life with its modern conveniences.

The concept began life as Hua Kotinga, which is Maori for fruit harvest. That was the name used for the unit at DesignEx 2004 in Sydney, although it was originally called ‘Harvest’.

I can’t seem to finalise the name. Now I call it Peach, after the poem, by Shirley Grace, that inspired the design.

Emotional design

The original brief was based around the need to ‘reinterpret white goods’ with a strong emphasis on emotional aspects in design.

A constant theme within design is to produce something that is easy to use, to make things as convenient as possible for the user.

From the beginning I wanted to move the height of interaction away from the standard 700-1000mm area, to make you either crouch for vegetables found in the ground, or reach for fruits from a tree.

With fruits slightly more glamorous than vegetables, the unit was to be set high on the wall. The form of the ‘baskets’ came from traditional oak baskets used for gathering fruit and vegetables, as well as the need to allow air to circulate through the fruit.

Ply was used for its association with the traditional baskets, and of course, nature. The use of ply also allowed the strips to respond to touch, to ‘spring’ when knocked, as branches would.

Interaction with the design is by way of the form; the user rarely ever comes in contact with the technology, which is more often the case with white goods.

To get an apple you must ascend the ladder, stretch in order to reach over the lip of the baskets and then descend the ladder. The only acknowledgment of any technology used is secondary, with the apple being cool to touch and bite.

An added quirk to the design is that the user must either awkwardly peer over the basket, or feel around to find a piece of fruit. A stronger concentration on form, then technology aligns the design more closely with the elements of nature.

Construction and technology

For the construction of Peach, American oak plywood curves hold the fruit to the stainless steel unit and an American oak ladder makes the fruit accessible.

Wood was used because over time it would absorb the scent of the fruit and the steps would wear down with use and hold any dents or marks in the surface, making each unit individual to the owner.

I have since looked in to using Greenseal timber for the unit. It is sustainable pine, naturally treated to give it the properties of hardwood, it can be coloured during the process and is available in five colours.

Using the basic technology of an air conditioning unit, Peach circulates cool air around the fruit stored in three wall mounted baskets. The air flows through the fruit and out of the vents created by the curves of the ply.

Peach allows the fruit to last longer than it would if it were stored in a conventional fruit bowl, while creating more of a spectacle of the fruit than if it were kept in a refrigerator.

Controls located beneath each of the three baskets allow each basket to be set to any one of the three pre-set temperatures, or turned off if not in use.

Thermostats for each of the baskets are located within the unit, ensuring the temperature of the air circulating the fruit is kept at the optimum temperature at all times.

Each basket has a removable, perforated aluminium base that can be easily removed for cleaning purposes. The base simply needs to be lifted up and out of the basket and then cleaned with warm water.

Standing out

The design was one of five chosen by Electrolux to be made full size and exhibited at DesignEx 2004 on the Electrolux stand.

The unit was also chosen along with Matt Weichard’s barbecue to be exhibited at the Electrolux Global Design Centre opening in Stockholm in 2004, and now resides in the Sydney showroom/design centre.

It was short listed in the ‘Kitchen is the Heart of the Home’ competition, run through Designboom for the IMM Cologne furniture fair.

It was published in the ‘Kitchen is the Heart of the Home’ book as one of the eighty-five outstanding entries from three thousand participants.  

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