Jake Rich redesigns the microwave in order to highlight our relationship with our kitchen devices
The microwave has become an invaluable tool in the kitchen, capable of everything from reheating food, defrosting dinner and even making snacks in a snap. Its ease of use makes it one of the first devices people learn to use as children and most meals come with instructions for preparing it there. However, the microwave has more or less remained the same in terms of design since its inception, until a British designer aimed to change the way we interact with the device.
Jake Rich took the microwave with the goal to change how people interact with their microwave but changing its structure, not its function, and created the “mediumwave.” His reimagining of the device includes a flat dinner plate-sized surface, a circular cover allowing 360-degree view and wheels so that it can be easily moved around the kitchen counter. You can control both the amount of time and power used to cook the food, the latter of which changes the amount of light the microwave emits. The lid completes a circuit allowing the medium wave to work, so any movement from the lid will cause the device to stop entirely.
Rich tells Designboom that his choice of kitchen appliance had to do with its important but uncomplicated history:
I chose to focus on the microwave because as a piece of design it has remained essentially untouched for over fifty years. when the technology was invented and the next step was to make it an affordable domestic appliance, and the easiest and most efficient way to do this was to encase it in the metal box we are all very familiar with. I wanted to challenge this archetype, prioritizing factors such as how we use it and interact with it, looking to design a microwave that is intuitive and responsive.
While the mediumwave is not for sale (at least as of yet), it does bring up good questions about the tried and true designs of our kitchen appliances. How can the refrigerator be improved? Is there a more effective way to heat food in the oven? The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a household and is often the most technologically-dated one.