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case-study

Reimagining refrigeration through new technology

Godrej Appliances Innovation & Technology

In India, the ownership of a refrigerator signals social status, yet as little as 8 out of every 100 rural homes own one. This is primarily due to functional factors such as poor electricity supply coupled, high cost of ownership, and real constraints on home space.However, offering low cost solutions that are stripped down for price, usually fail because they fail to address key drivers to purchase of assets such as pride of ownership.
The Godrej brand comes with a legacy in India that is over 100 years old. The company sought to design solutions tailored to low income communities living in energy dark areas, delivering pride of ownership despite the low cost of the asset. The Future Factory team worked with breakthrough solid state thermoelectric technology to craft disruptive design for successful adoption in such communities.

project
Product Chotukool
Industry Appliances
Scope
  • Research
  • Strategy
  • Industrial Design
  • Engineering
  • Innovation
  • Technology
  • Prototyping
  • Vendor Development
  • Batch Production

What is remarkable is that ChotuKool has brought imagination to a century old category. Such innovation is rare.

Cutting Edge technology for low income communities

The innovation challenge was to, deliver pride of ownership yet affordable solutions to low income communities, in order to maintain aspiration while delivering functionality. Unlike most technology based projects that create high cost products for high income consumers, the Future Factory team worked to create aspirational products with a “cool factor” using breakthrough technology for low income communities The breakthrough though for the design team came with early material explorations that revolved around new methods of sheathing the foam insulation with a previously never attempted way in the appliance industry. This then became the core innovation in making Chotukool an iconic brand, the coolest little refrigerator for India.

A new category demands a new visual language :

Functionally, the top opening horizontal format of the lid allows the cold air to be retained in thus preventing loss of precious cooling everytime the lid is opened while in use. From a positioning perspective, the novel top opening format is unique for a refrigerator that is usually a front door opening format. The novel format helped bring a unique story to the product differentiating it from standard small-format refrigeration solutions, and brining attention to the new-tech story.
Chotukool's visual language speaks of powerful efficiency combined with the artistic quality brought by the fabric in the exterior body presents an interesting play of hard and soft surfaces.
The simple top down form and the clever use of massing with colour brings the form factor a very dynamic appeal. The negative top curve of the lid gives it the needed sharpness around the corners that continue into the grill as a mass that are a reminiscent of the sporty swoosh, adding an interesting character to the form factor. The vibrant break of color massing brings attention at the recess at the back under the lid forming an ingress for lid opening. Chotukool’s form factor, size and weight allow it to be moved around easily, not demanding a permanent place at home or out of it. Chotukool also creates the possibility of co-creation allows the user to create her own product hence winning the ownership in the process of creation which increases the cohesion with the brand . Thus allowing a wide range of offerings to be explored from and alongwith custom-made designs for your own chosen combination.

project
Functionality :

Chotukool is designed for a relatively smaller footprint for two types of consumers: students and young adults living not heir own, and rural families with small refrigeration needs.
For rural consumers, its 40 litres of storage allows milk, curd and vegetables to be comfortably stored for the rural family who believes in cooking fresh everyday and stores very little.The green highlight moves in a swoosh forking into a finger ingress that makes the opening and grip of the lid. and prolonged intervals of access thus increasing usability and storage convenience. During power outages very irrefutable in the Indian tiers, the Chotukool technology can run upto 2-3 hours without electricity also bringing down the cost of cooling and usage in daily use.

For the young hip urban buyer who stores more bottles and less raw food, the internal layout re-organises to store upto 6 bottles alongwith snacking stock ups. The integrated battery back-up and the smaller form allows Chotukool to be carried around for convenience on the go, and offers a great product for carrying drinks and snacks for day trips, and short holidays.

Ecological Compatibility :

The running cost of Chotukool is as less as 3 cents a day making it very economical for daily use for both students and rural communities. From a sustainability perspective, the overall material content is much lesser and the exterior sheathing comprises of 90% re-cycled material content. The innovative solid state engine and pump also has a green footprint with no use of CFC HFC gases conventionally used for cooling and preserves the freshness and nutrition content of food. The product is designed around a healthy lifecycle impact, with limited consumables / replacements and a long durable product life.

The Solution: High Impact

Chotukool speaks of two formidable innovations : one being its technology, the other being the materials process. The engine uses an advanced solid state thermoelectric chip, backed by an innovative heat pump, which generates 30% increase in cooling efficiency. Making it possible to cool upto 40 liters - a battery backed affordable cooling solution, large enough for rural families, and usable in electricity dark areas. The “cool factor” was driven by a first-ever soft shell construction that was a spark in the early explorations : integrating fabric and structural foam to form a uni body - part fashion and part product. Appealing to urban youth and aspirational to rural poor. By co-creation, also possible are exclusive new sheaths made by local craftsmen thereby reviving ancient crafts and digital creatives uploaded by artists and urban youth. An exclusive online website allows you to create your own Chotukool, turning a cold refrigerator into a high engagement canvas.
Chotu Kool is today, not only of India’s most impactful innovations, but also one of its most iconic products.

project

What is remarkable is that ChotuKool has brought imagination to a century old category. Such innovation is rare.

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