A third year industrial design student at Massey University in New Zealand believes he has developed a new way to save energy while reducing food waste.

Ben de la Roche has come up with a concept for a new kind of refrigerator – called “Impress” – that doesn’t have nor need a conventional door. Instead, it is a wall with a series of hexagonal refrigeration chambers laid out like a honeycomb on the front, with swinging “doors” that can be moved and pushed in many different size configurations depending on what needed to be put inside. When items in need of refrigeration are pushed into the chambers, the refrigeration for only that chamber is turned on and keeps the item cool. Empty chambers are not refrigerated, which saves energy, and because all the items in the “fridge” can be seen with one look, food is also less likely to be wasted.

“How many times have you put leftovers in the fridge and forgotten about them, only to come back a week later and find them spoiled?” said de la Roche. “Impress is a refrigeration wall that holds your food and drinks for you, out in the open and not behind closed doors so you will always remember the lunch you prepared for work or find that midnight snack with ease.”

De la Roche is one of ten finalists presenting their concepts in front of judges next month in in Milan, Italy at the International Electrolux Design Lab 2012 Award competition. Winners will receive 5000 euros ($6,400 US) and a six-month internship at Electrolux.

Is it funny looking? Sure is. But if it ever worked as planned, it could change the way we use cold storage for food in our kitchens which hasn’t changed or been updated in many, many years.

[via Dvice and the New Zealand Herald]

Image Credit: Mark Mitchell/Massey University