“BACK THEN”, FRIDGES WERE BEAUTIFUL
Although Big Chill was founded in 2001, we trace our roots to the walls of founder Orion Creamer’s college dorm room.
Those walls displayed Orion’s growing collection of vintage fridge doors. As an art student, he had developed an eye for things that were catching, coherent, and beautiful. The myriad colors, heavy duty styling, and vintage details revealed an age where the appliance was truly a piece of art, in contrast to what surrounded him in the modern kitchen.
So what happened? And why are we at the edge of a new trend?
A LOOK BACK
Kitchen designers, homemakers, and the public have been making tradeoffs between efficiency, functionality, features, and appearance since the refrigerator started becoming a core household item in the 1940s and 1950s.
A brief glance through fridge advertisements over the decades reveals how these trends have ebbed and flowed over the years. In the 1940s, ads were technical in nature and emphasized food safety. Notice, of course, the quality steel construction.
By the 1950s, as everyone began buying their first fridges, it was a proud fixture of the home and deserved to stand out. Imagine inviting your friends over to see your first fridge!
Some of these trends got extreme – as you can see from the ad below:
The 1950s represented the height of sturdy and beautiful designs. From that point, efficiency, features, and utility took over and fridges became decreasingly attractive for many decades.
We don’t mean to say the efficiency trend is all bad. In the 1940s, even a small 9 cubic foot fridge cost the equivalent of over $6,000 in today’s dollars and has consistently trended down. In the 1970s, fridges still used over 2000 kwh per year ($240/year of energy at today’s prices). Today’s energy sippers, including items like the Big Chill Original, often use less than 500 kwh/year. Fridges today are affordable, feature-loaded, safe, and efficient, and that’s led to huge increases in food safety and convenience.
FRIDGES STOPPED STANDING OUT AND STARTED BLENDING IN
As we’ve moved to robot-assisted building, shipped jobs to their cheapest locations, replaced steel with plastic frames, and made beautiful rounded doors simple and easy to build en masse – something got lost. That certain artistic beauty that our founder wanted to preserve in his dorm room years ago. Quite simply, fridges used to be stunning and sturdy works of art. And now, some people are even hiding them behind cabinets!
WHY CAN’T AN APPLIANCE BE A WORK OF ART?
At Big Chill, we don’t settle for something that quietly does its job in the background. Leading designers and forward-thinking customers already realize that to make kitchens more warm, personal, and inviting – the hiding-behind-cabinets trend will once again give way to appliances that are more beautiful, colorful, bold, and fun.
If you’re an average person, you’ll interact with your fridge over 5000 times this year. That’s why we’ve always spent a little extra on details: things like a pivoting instead of a stationary handle; beautiful powder coating instead of colored plastic; indented steel doors instead of flat panels. We combine this attentiveness with the best of modern features – energy efficiency, lighting, and state of the art cooling capability.
So whether you’re interested in one of our fridges, or another of our inspired appliances, we think you’ll agree that we’re delivering the best Modern Made Classics®.
Big Chill: HAPPY KITCHEN, HAPPY HOME™