a monthly round-up of the world's best interiors and design stories
The blades on conventional electric fans literally chop the air, which means the airflow is uneven, causing unpleasant buffeting.
The Dyson Air MultiplierTM fan has no blades. Instead it uses Air MultiplierTM technology to amplify air 15 times, expelling 405 litres of cool, smooth and uninterrupted air every second.
Air is accelerated through an annular aperture set within the loop amplifier. This creates a jet of air, which passes over an airfoil-shaped ramp that channels its direction. Surrounding air is drawn into the airflow (this is called inducement and entrainment).
Dyson's fluid dynamics engineers ran hundreds of simulations to measure and map airflow - allowing them to precisely optimise how the Dyson Air MultiplierTM fan works.
The Dyson Air MultiplierTM fan is powered by an efficient brushless motor and air speed can be precisely adjusted with dimmer-switch control. Fans with blades are only wired to run at just two or three settings.
No blades means no need for a grille; so it's safe and simple to clean.
And because its motor is at its base, the Dyson Air MultiplierTM fan can be tilted with a touch, unlike a conventional top-heavy fan, which needs to be positioned with two hands and can topple easily.
James Dyson says "I've always been disappointed by fans. Their spinning blades chop up the airflow, causing annoying buffeting. They're hard to clean. And children always want to poke their fingers through the grille. So we've developed a new type of fan that doesn't use blades."
James attended London's Byam Shaw art school but painting beautiful objects wasn't enough. James wanted to make, and the Royal College of Art allowed just that. James studied architecture, but instead of colonnades and cladding, robust marine engineering was the order of the day. He developed a flat-hulled high-speed landing craft and, with it, his passion for engineering. Pretty soon, he'd also developed a new kind of wheelbarrow - one with a big fat ball that didn't sink into mud and chunky feet for stability. All the while learning to take risks, make mistakes and use frustration as a fuel for creativity and solving problems. <p>Problems like vacuum cleaners that lose suction. Could the cyclone technology he'd first spotted on a sawmill work in a vacuum cleaner? He ripped the dusty clogged bag from his old vacuum and replaced it with a crude prototype. 5,126 prototypes later: Dual Cyclone<sup>TM</sup> technology and the first bagless vacuum cleaner.</p> <p>During the five years it took to develop his first vacuum, James was also battling. First to convince other manufacturers to embrace his new technology. Then to protect his invention when they copied it. It's enough to give you a complex. And it did. James' experience informs the way Dyson works today. Keeping our inventions secret. Protecting our ideas. Always taking risks. Like developing a washing machine with 2-drums; emission-filtering diesel exhausts; clean air hand dryers; balls instead of wheels; robots - even a new type of school to get young people into engineering. Always new and better.</p>