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Hi-tech and the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee

The IFA, Berlin, the world’s biggest trade fair for consumer electronics first opened its doors to the public almost 90 years ago. Then it was called simply the Große Deutsche Funkausstellung (Great German Radio Exhibition). Despite this long tradition, this year as always, the IFA has its sights set clearly on the future. That’s what brings the crowds to Berlin – not only the retailers, but also the public. What they get is not just a trade show, but a fabulous event. The air is full of the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee, grilled steaks and crisp waffles. Cookery shows, musical performances and all sorts of entertainment vie with the latest technology for people’s attention. Over 1000 exhibitors from all over the world and the international public generate a rich mix of languages and cultures. And it’s they who make the most noise; not the dishwashers, washing machines and coffee machines – they’re all engineered to noiseless, virtually vibration-free and naturally energy-efficient.

Home appliances that think for you

The editorial team from clever-storage.com was at the IFA 2013 on the lookout for the latest trends. One topic was top of the agenda almost everywhere – energy efficiency. The big multinationals – Siemens, AEG, Miele and Bosch showcased their new concepts and models with attention-grabbing stands. We examined the new smart appliances with fascination, convinced we were being shown a vision of the future. There was a coffee machine, for instance, that was perfectly capable of remembering just how each of six people like their cappuccino – Primadonna Exclusiv made by DeLonghi. Or a prototype refrigerator with sensors to measure how fresh the tomatoes are, a door that is in effect a transparent screen and an integrated computer that lets you check remotely how many eggs are left. This Smart Fridge from Haier was a concept study at the IFA this year, but next year it’ll be on the market. And what about this neat little box? Fit a special cloth and off it goes across the floor, cleaning and polishing without bumping into the furniture or tumbling down the stairs – meet iRobot Braava, the latest addition to the iRobot family of cleaning robots.

Does anyone enjoy vacuuming?

Thomas, a well-known manufacturer, dares to suggest that the answer might be „yes“. They certainly do their best to get a positive response with their CrooSer with an exchangeable protective bumper in a range of fashion colours, letting owners personalise their machine. Sebo too is intent on turning a vacuum cleaner into a fashion statement. Their handy and compact machine, the Felix 1 Premium Crystal, has a fabric exhaust filter cover and comes in a range of delightful decors with ornaments and even Swarowski appliqués.

Was everything better years ago?

No, of course not, but there are certainly some style elements from the 50s and 60s that are just too good to be gathering dust in a museum. For home appliances, the retro look is in – curving lines, fragmented surfaces and chrome-plated switches and operator panels. There’s a cheerful combination of form and function, DeLonghi for instance showed a toaster, that looks a little like an American automobile and a water boiler glittering in a crystal look. And the Bosch Classic Edition brings more colour into the kitchen.

Rubbing shoulders with star chefs

Trade shows are bound to make you hungry and the IFA offers something for every taste. Follow your nose to the nearest cookery demonstration. Star cooks, familiar from TV cook shows, are there demonstrating just what the latest technology can do for your culinary skills. Björn Freitag works magic for Electrolux, Beko has the rockstar chef Ralf Jakumeit, and many other familiar faces make sure you take away brilliant culinary impressions of the IFA 2013.


IFA 2014 in Berlin: b2c.ifa-berlin.de

Text: Johanna du Bosque 

Photos: Lisa-Marie Köster