Vertical Dishwasher Design: An Ergonomic Update for a Kitchen Classic
Though most of the world gets along just fine without dishwashers, a lot of people have gotten accustomed to their convenience, and it’s hard for many people to imagine completing daily kitchen tasks without one. Compared to the process of hand-washing, it’s definitely faster and less labor-intensive, and it can arguably waste less water, depending on the machine. But we tend to take for granted just how easy it is to load it up with dirtied items, add detergent, press a button and wait for them to come out sparkling clean — to the point of complaining about the task of putting them away when it’s done.
However, the common dishwasher is far from perfect. One way that loading and unloading dishes from a dishwasher can be a bit more annoying than unloading a countertop dish rack: it requires repeatedly bending over. The way a conventional dishwasher opens can also infringe upon limited floor space, making small kitchens feel even smaller and requiring acrobatics to reach the cabinets around the open door.
A pair of industrial designers have an idea that could revolutionize this kitchen appliance, vastly improving its usability. The top-loading dishwasher by Moshen Jafari Malek and Behzad Taheri takes up the same amount of space as existing designs, but is tucked behind the cabinets, rising from the countertop in a series of tiers. As long as the cabinet you store dishes in isn’t located directly behind the dishwasher, you’ll have a much easier time putting everything away.
You’ve also got eye-level views of the racks, and the ability to position the dishwasher directly next to the sink for even more convenience. As the designers note, the vertical design eliminates the need for a watertight seal around the door, which can be one of the weakest points of a front-loading dishwasher.
Clearly, the racks are pretty small, and the compact size coupled with a central axis makes it hard to wash more than a day’s worth of dishes at a time or add any pots or platters to the mix. But this concept was specifically envisioned for smaller urban kitchens in which space comes at a premium, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be made available in a range of sizes to accommodate larger households.
“Each basket could rotate along jack axis for better access to every corner of the baskets,” say the designers. “The tray for cutlery is in the front side of the baskets. Narrow design of these small baskets lets you save more room for bigger dishes or pots. Detergent dispenser and rinse agent dispenser is in front of the machine in a reachable place. In front of the machine there is a line of LEDs. When you see this light bar from the doorway or other rooms, you can understand which cycle the machine is working on.”
One of those ‘so simple, why didn’t anyone think of it yet?’ ideas, the idea of a vertical dishwasher somehow still hasn’t been made into a reality by an appliance manufacturer. Given all the research and development carried out by companies like General Electric, you’d think someone would have jumped on this by now, so many there are some drawbacks we’re not aware of. But as far as appearances go, this looks like a winner that many consumers would purchase in a heartbeat given the opportunity.