Chulha by Philips Design



Chulha, a cooking stove intended for use in the developing world by Philips Design, is among the winners of the Index Awards 2009, which were announced in Copenhagen last night.


Chulha allows people to cook in the traditional way but removes reduces the amount of fuel required and the risk of injury or death caused by smoke inhalation.


The stove won the Home category of the biannual awards, which promote design that improves people's lives and which has a prize of €100,000 per category.


Here's some text from Index Awards:



Home category

Intent: limit the dangerous health conditions caused by traditions of indoor cooking in many rural areas of the developing world. The Chulha is a stove designed to limit the dangerous health conditions caused by traditions of indoor cooking in many rural areas of the developing world.

The stove is being made available by Philips Design to the universe of social entrepreneurs so that they can, free of charge, produce the stove, themselves, and generate local business while helping counter what the World Health Organization estimates is some 1.6 million deaths per year from conditions prompted by the toxic fumes of indoor cooking with “bio-mass” fuels (wood, dung, peat, etc.).

The Chulha creates a safer environment for indoor cooking in several ways.

• It traps smoke and heat inside a locally cast housing in such a way as to heat two pot-holes with a high rate of efficiency to require less fuel;

• It then directs the smoke through a chimney chamber that includes a stack of slotted clay tablets – they capture particulates as the smoke moves through, cleaning the exhaust before it ever leaves the assembly; and

• The Chulha’s chimney then includes an indoor access for cleaning, eliminating the need seen in previous devices for a family member,  usually the mother, to climb on the roof and attempt cleaning. This has been blamed for many accidents, along with the toxicity of the smoke.

Notably, Philips has gone to great lengths – and three iterations of the Chulha design – to make it something that seems familiar and attractive to users in the field. Conscious that tradition is the basis for much of the issue the Chulha addresses, Philips’ designers have concentrated much sensitivity on generating a readily acceptable response to the problem.

“It all started back in 2005,” says designer Unmesh Kulkarni of the Philips Design Team based in Pune, India. “In observance of 80 years of design, Philips brought together about 250 designers to look at global issues. Our CEO, Stefano Marzano, wanted to look at our ability to think about solving social problems.”

INDEX:Award recipient Stefano Marzano, CEO and Chief Creative Director at Philips Design in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, says, “The target users of the Chulha are all the families in rural environments. The focus for the creation of the Chulha was India, however there are similarities in many countries in Africa, Latin America and other regions, as well as in India.”
“The fact that this product can be manufactured by even the end-user creates the opportunity in any location,” Marzano says, “to actually start the production of the product.”

WHO estimates that 25 percent of indoor air-pollution deaths are in India, and that 800,000 infants die of related conditions worldwide, annually.

Designed by: Philips Design.

Design team: Unmesh Kulkarni; Praveeen Mareguddi, India.

Additional credits: Bas Griffioen; Simona Rocchi, the Netherlands.

Partners:  Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI); end-users.

Posted on Saturday August 29th 2009 at 11:33 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • roti kapda aur makan

    That looks fairly different from what we usually see in these pages! Is there a more detailed description of the project available anywhere. I suppose if its meant to be open source the entire project should be published- especially online. How is this chulha different from the many other types of smokeless chulhas we see. Some of those are absolute trash. Now if we had a revolutionary design for some clean locally produced and efficent fuel!!

  • Interesting design
    What is it made of,- cement or clay?

    How long has it been tested for cracks?

    thanking you in advance!

  • pontiak

    i seen also it is not great as the traditional chullah… which women built by herself. this is not design product. sorry…. i am not impress with this…

  • tanya telford – T

    i dont know anything about traditional chullahs but this looks (having also read the text) pretty good. From what I understand, this is safer and uses less fuel plus people around the world can build it themselves, seems really good to me.

  • Azeem

    @ pontiak, I SO AGREE WITH YOU!

  • modular

    I really don’t care if this suits the needs for the people which is intended to….

    Yes, this is a very non-designer position. Yet, this would be sweet on my 10.000.000 euro shack on the south of France. hehe

  • eric luyckx

    i don’t understand why they won the prize. In fact, they stole the price. the winners are the womens who have progressively designed that stove by experimenting along years and years…

  • eric luyckx

    it’s like monsanto who stole traditional medicine principle

  • s mart

    if design is about function, and this design translates experience into mass-production, it makes very much sense, that this project won. maybe sometimes design isn’t about making the biiiiig invention, but to listen, to understand and to bring knowledge and experience tohether.

  • The stove is improved version as compared to the traditional two pot stoves in use and an improved design by me about 4 years back and 300 families are using them since then.

  • sanghamitra

    i'm impressed by this design. more information about how to make it at home is desired. i'm a fan of Dr. N.Saibhasker who is doing great service to chulha users. these chulhas are very useful even in urban areas.

  • I am interested in knowing more information about this smokeless chulha. We support an orphanage in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. This organisation cooks food for 150 orphans on a wood fire stove, which creates smoke and the kitchen is very dark with soot.

    My query is whether this kind of chulha design could be available for institutional cooking?

    Looking forward to your response.

    Thank you.

    • dezeen_intense

      Hi Nivedita,

      We suggest you get in touch with Philips Design to find out more about the stove.

      There is a contact email at the bottom of this page:



    • John Wilson

      Hi, did you ever find a suitable model for your orphanage? We are looking for one for our tribal school. John Wilson