Royal College of Art graduate Min-Kyu Choi has designed a folding version of the standard UK electrical plug. Update 17/03/2010: Folding Plug has won the Brit Insurance Design of the Year award 2010. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.
The folded plug is more suitable for travelling than the bulky standard version.
Choi has also designed a USB charger version and Multi Flat Plug (below), which allows three devices to share power from one plug that takes up more or less the same amount of space as a standard plug.
Choi's work is included in Royal College of Art show two, which runs until 5 July (closed 3 July).
Here's some info from Choi about the plugs followed by full details of the RCA show:
‘Mac book Air,’ Apple’s latest master-piece, is the world’s thinnest laptop ever. However, here in the U.K, we still use the world’s biggest three-pin plug.
Most people carry laptops with adapters and plugs because laptop batteries have limitations on the time they can be used. When people carry laptops with U.K plugs in a bag, it always causes problems such as tearing paper, scratching laptop surfaces and, sometimes, it breaks other stuff. The main problem is the UK standard 3-pin plug is not considered in the process of designing for mobility.
My all intention of the project was directed to make the plug as slim as possible and follow the British Standard regulation at the same time.
‘Folding Plug’ changes the shape form the normal U.K plug into a 10mm thickness object, solving these damaging problems.
The ‘Folding Plug’ is also advantageous when people have to travel aboard. People normally carry up to three electronic devices for their long-term journey, such as a mobile phone, a digital camera or an iPod, However, we usually carry only one universal plug. Whilst multi-plug adapters and USB chargers allow us to use one plug socket for many devices, they are still bulky objects.
The flat properties of my folding plug have inspired the development of a multi-plug adapter that also performs in space-saving ways. By using the folding plug whilst it is folded, ‘Multi Flat Plug’ and ‘USB Charger’ allows for 3 devices to be plugged into the mains, but only inhabiting a little more space than a standard 3-pin UK plug.
Open 26 June – 5 July, 11am – 8pm (closed 3 July; exhibition will close at 5pm on 30 June, 1 July and 5 July). Please note that the TEXTILES section will close for an industry reception at 5.30pm on Monday June 29. Fashion Accessories will therefore also be inaccessible to the public during this event.
The final part of the graduate shows includes work by students from the following courses: Animation, Architecture, Communication Art & Design, Conservation, Critical and Historical Studies, Design Products, Design Interactions, Fashion Footwear and Accessories, History of Design, Industrial Design Engineering, Textiles and Vehicle Design.
Some work will be for sale or commission.
Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU
Tube: High Street Kensington/South Kensington, Buses: 9, 10, 52, 452