One of the main pillars of the Kitchen Show is built-in and free-standing large appliances, including refrigerators. They can be found in every household, often doing their job quietly without attracting much attention, but sometimes bringing a whole new dimension to our everyday life. In the article below, SELL Magazine’s expert Dávid Szalai helps you navigate the not-so-uniform world of fridges. We’re also preparing a gorgeous fridge fashion show for the event so you can choose the right one on the spot between 22-24, April!
Most of us would probably be disappointed if only black shoes, green cars or blue pillow cases were available in shops. But when it comes to refrigerators, most people would settle for white. But there are those who want something different, who are looking for something special and unique. Fortunately, they don’t need to grab a paintbrush, paint roller or spray paint to add color to their lives through their fridge. Because there are plenty of colorful versions of fridges that aren’t so boring after all.
As with all household appliances, the default color for fridges is white. However, this choice of color was not motivated by design considerations at the time of the range’s birth, nor was it due to a lack of imagination on the part of the designers, nor even to the desire for a universal look demanded by mass production. White was simply a "technical" solution at the beginning. Cooling technology was by no means as advanced as it is today, so the amount of sunlight the device received and how hot it got made a big difference. White, on the other hand, reflects the sun’s rays, and as a result, white refrigerators were less affected by environmental factors. Of course, with progress, this has changed, and no one now looks at the climate control on a fridge to see what temperature range the appliance is operating at. Nevertheless, the product feature has remained, as has the default white color.
Although colored fridges are not yet decades old in this country, the category has been around for quite some time. The pop art colors of the 50’s and 60’s in America did not leave household appliances untouched and during this period many manufacturers offered their appliances - including their fridges - in "bubble gum" shades, i.e. pink, turquoise, mustard yellow or even olive green. However, most of Europe (including our homeland) has largely missed out on this wave, and so we have only been able to see retro or vintage household appliances in a nostalgic mood. But before that, we witnessed the rise of stainless steel, or inox, and black. The former also has a history, since in the 1960s there were refrigerators made with so-called polished chrome plating. This was very similar to the inox look, so we can actually consider it as a predecessor. However, the first true inox refrigerators only appeared sometime around the 1990s, but became so popular that it is now the second most common color in this range. Accordingly, if you are looking for an inox model, you don’t have to compromise: all sizes, finishes, and technical features are available in inox versions. It is necessary to add that inox also refers to stainless steel, so there can be a huge difference between inox and stainless steel. Black appeared in refrigerators somewhat earlier than inox, as a contrast to the overly colorful era of the 1980s, but only became in demand around the turn of the millennium. Now, however, it is the third most common color, but the supply of such appliances is significantly smaller than for white or inox models.
The aforementioned very colorful fridges have been marketed in a retro spirit and, in addition to the colors, the rounded corners and the horizontally positioned, distinctive metal handles make the fridges designed in this style unmistakable. Many brands have found this trend appealing - Amica, Candy, Gorenje, Smeg, to name but a few of the manufacturers who sell colorful models in Hungary. Baby blue, pink, turquoise, olive green, burgundy, orange, beige, mustard yellow and black are the most common in retro and vintage ranges, but other shades are also available. The first series did not try very hard to offer the best available in terms of technical features and the "early bird" models were quite low-tech. Understandably so, as there was no guarantee of a breakthrough success. On the other hand, the price is already inflated by the design alone, and if serious technology is added, the product is not really marketable. However, demand has not plummeted and more and more brands have emerged, so the current custom product range now includes models that are technically as good as any other. However, there are also manufacturers who have kept the technical content simple and retro, so it’s worth taking a look at the specifications before you make your decision. Although there is a wide choice of colors and brands, the same cannot be said of equipment and size. For example, a water dispenser or a TFT display on a retro cooler would be very unstylish, so there isn’t one, but there aren’t many side-by-side versions either, and the capacity options are also limited.
If you decide to spice up your kitchen with a colorful fridge, you run the risk of getting bored of the chosen color after a while. You may also decide to renovate the kitchen before you replace the fridge, and it may be that a mustard yellow is a better choice for the interior than pink. There are no statistics available on how common this dilemma is, but there are two brands that offer solutions to this kind of problem.
In the Bosch VarioStyle series, the front of the fridge can be removed to change the color of the appliance. You don’t even need an expert to do it - it can be done by anyone. The brand offers around 30 different shades for these fridges, so you can change the color of the product every week if you feel like it and your budget allows.
Samsung’s Bespoke range is based on a similar concept, but the South Korean manufacturer doesn’t offer this option on just one model. The Bespoke range also includes single-door, sub-fridge, side-by-side and, as of this year, even so-called multi-door models, and even allows you to pick different shades for each door.
A colorful fridge can give your kitchen a different look from the ordinary, but there are more peculiar ways to do it: Gorenje’s iconic Volkswagen minibus is certainly one, as is Liebherr’s emblematic British phone box (see above), Smeg’s Dolce & Gabbana, or even the brand’s British, American and Italian flag-wrapped models.
And it doesn’t end there: with its MyStyle concept, Liebherr doesn’t just offer a color or pattern, but a fully customisable refrigerator. You can choose the color, select from pre-created designs, upload your own image to the configurator, add text and even have a say in the materials and equipment, within certain limits. What’s more, you can do this for 16 different sizes and capacities. Well, not for us, because there is no common set of such chiseled needs and returns in this country.
If you want to see your kitchen in color, you don’t have to stop at the fridge. From built-in appliances, you’ll have to make do with white, black and inox, but if you don’t insist on built-in appliances, you can find a variety of colors on stoves and ranges. But if you don’t want to give up the practicality of a taller built-in oven, there are still options. There’s a wide range of colorful small appliances, from blenders, kettles and toasters to microwaves. However, as there are relatively few brands that produce both large and small appliances, it is necessary to go multi-brand in the kitchen. This may require some research and creativity.
At this year’s Kitchen Show, visitors will be able to find inspiration from a range of unique ideas, solutions and concepts, and they may also be inspired to give their kitchen a little color. Come to the Budapest Arena between 22-24 April, 2022 and enjoy the stylish pieces of the refrigerator fashion show!