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GE Goes (Musically) Classical With New Monogram Appliances

NEW YORK – GE Monogram is adding a musical dimension to its high-end appliance industrial design.

The wide consumer acceptance of the open-kitchen design now found in many homes has spurred GE’s industrial designers to take into account, and bring to the forefront, the auditory aspect of an appliance’s impact in the kitchen, said Ryan Diener, an industrial designer for GE.

“The open-floor plan kitchen makes it important in how sound plays in this environment, so we came up with an auditory brand identity,” he said.

Diener and his fellow designers took into consideration the basic Monogram design elements and the product’s top-tier target audience to literally write a song for the brand. The end result is a piece of classical piano music that the team has used to give new Monogram appliances a voice.

Instead of the usual pings and dings associated with setting a dishwasher cycle, GE used clips from the song as a musical notification, Diener said.

While this feature is now limited to the super-premium Monogram line, the company plans to develop similar songs for its other platforms to give each its own musical identity, Diener said.

One of the first models to feature this musical accompaniment is the upcoming Monogram dishwasher model ZDT870SSF. The unit is shipping in February with a $1,799 suggested retail.

In addition to the new sound elements the ZDT870SSF also incorporates several design improvements. The most noticeable is the inclusion of side and top LED lighting inside the wash basin, said Andrew Sprayer, GE’s dishwasher product manager.

The other new features include 102 washing jets, a cutlery tray that sits at the top of the wash basin, and a bottle washing feature. The latter has four stations in the upper rack where items like baby or sports bottles can be placed. The water shoots up through the stem holding the bottle, ensuring the water gets to the bottom. The other new feature is a main washer arm that rotates in both directions to give a more even wash.

The washer also generates a quiet 49dB when in operation.

GE has also revamped its Monogram refrigerator design with the company’s first French-door built-in model that features a very minimalist look. The three models – European style (ZIPS360NZ), $8,599; professional style (ZIPP360NZ), $8,799; and custom panel-trimmed (ZIP360NZ), $7,499 – will hit select retailers in January with full availability in September.

The design’s main departure from the past is that all the internal shelving and drawers are made of steel and glass to give it a substantial look and feel, said Michael Mahan, product manager for Monogram refrigeration.

The French doors are 18 inches wide and open to 14.49 cubic feet storage space, while the freezer has 6.06 cubic feet of space. All the drawers utilize GE’s self-closing technology.

Mahan emphasized that each of these refrigerators will be hand-made in the company’s Selmer, Tenn., factory.