By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Frigidaire Home Products parent Electrolux AB of Sweden is casting a new light on refrigeration with three new "concept" models recently unveiled.
One concept model, called the Lighthouse, is a cross between a refrigerator and a kitchen island. The waist-high top surface is a work area, while the translucent side panels provide a view of the food stored inside. The refrigerator's "dynamic cooling system" creates different levels of cooling in the unit's various compartments, and it could be used as a freestanding appliance or slid into a countertop.
Another concept, the Glow, has brightly colored, rigid plastic shelves. Its handle is integrated into the molded form of the door, and its toe-kick glows in the dark, powered by a small light source under the refrigerator.
The third Electrolux concept refrigerator, the Bowling Pin, is targeted for use as a secondary source of refrigeration or for use in an office. Its shelves rotate within a round form, so drinks and snacks are readily accessible. A quick-chill unit under the clear hood on top can chill water, aluminum cans or a bottle of wine in just one minute.
Although these new refrigerator concepts are not on the market, and Electrolux has not announced any specific plans for further developing them, the ideas represent the thinking of the Electrolux and Frigidaire industrial design departments, according to the company.
Robin Edman, VP of future product design at the Electrolux design center in Stockholm, said, "It is time to retire the traditional, clinical white appliance and let our own personalities bring to life the appliances that are so much a part of the way we live today and will live in the future." Electrolux's purpose in developing new designs, he said, is "to offer today's consumers a real and substantial alternative to standard, look-alike kitchens."
Rick Weiss, general manager of industrial design for Frigidaire Home Products, agreed and said, "While these specific product concepts may not reach the North American market, they do represent the creative thinking that the Frigidaire design team shares with our counterparts around the world."
Weiss added, "This thinking stretches the horizons and influences creative thinking about even our most traditional appliances."
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