In 2020, Whirlpool Corporation was honored to receive six prestigious iF awards for products and product collections. This level of design excellence is no accident—it’s the result of thought leadership and intimate consumer knowledge gathered and implemented by a global team.
The KitchenAid Built-In Black Collection
The KitchenAid Built-In Black Collection is a story of passion, experimentation, and tactile experience. Much like the iconic KitchenAid stand mixer, the Built-In Black Collection is designed as a statement piece, emphasizing what’s important to the consumer.
“We designed for the passionate maker, who is hands-on,” said Sander Brouwer, design manager for brands. “In the kitchen, there’s a bond between holding an appliance and the act of cooking. This oven is a bridge between function and passion.”
“For KitchenAid, it’s about passion, getting your hands dirty,” said Brouwer. “It’s a pride piece in the kitchen. If you host, you put out certain pictures, books, and other pieces that say something about your life—front and center for guests. KitchenAid is something you hope you get asked about, and we celebrate that with this aesthetic.”
To create this pride point, the design must always begin with the consumer in mind.
“We start from the user, understanding their needs and desires,” said Marta Taverna, product designer. “The current home trend is increasing common space between the kitchen and the living room. We’re also seeing darker tones in the kitchen. We combine these elements with usability and user interfaces that most appeal to consumers to create the design.”
With award-winning design and consumer-driven function, the team expects the collection to be a magnetic draw for consumers in the marketplace.
The Whirlpool W Collection Built-In Black Fiber Suite
In an increasingly cross-cultural and connected world, how do you design universally-appealing aesthetics with regional preferences and culture? IF DESIGN AWARD 2020’s Whirlpool Built-In Black Fiber W6 Collection struck that perfect balance.
“This award is something we’re proud of, that recognizes the hard work of everybody” said Simone Ceron, global design manager. “This isn’t the effort of a few; we’re acting as a team at a global level.”
With an appliance that is designed for different regions across the globe, there are common consumer needs that are the same in each region, along with some specific variations to fit each market. Consumer research is the key to finding these differences, which inspired the integrated portfolio and dark matte finish of the collection.
“In our Design Process, we always start with the consumer; we have a fantastic global team in Whirlpool Corporation’s Global Consumer Design that is responsible for tracking product requirements and solving issues in a clever way that’s also aesthetically pleasing,” said Ceron.
“In EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), we have the trend of dark kitchen environments—we’re seeing the percentage of dark kitchen sales growing. Almost to the same level as sales of white ones. And that’s the perfect environment for a black appliance.”
“We see a trend with kitchens becoming more and more integrated,” said Roberta Albuquerque, global design manager. “Specifically, built-ins for EMEA. We’re striving to create built-in ovens with no gaps, that are flush with the countertop. The trend is to integrate more and more; that it’s all part of an ecosystem where you don’t see where the appliance ends and the countertop starts.”
The iF award, then, is not only an acknowledgment of successful design and execution, but the hard work and intense research of a global team.
The Whirlpool Essential Washer
With home appliances, the functions and features that are not present are equally important as those that are. That’s the lesson iF DESIGN AWARD 2020 winner, the Whirlpool Essential washer, has to teach us.
“In the field of fighting in various regions of the world, the more advanced the master is, the more they pursue a state of minimalism—they abandon meaningless moves and routines to grasp the core of the fighting spirit,” said Aladdin Ding, lead designer for Essential.
“So the design team abandoned other redundant decoration and functional pieces such as knobs, electroplated decorative strips and large-area display screens to restore the most essential state of the product.”
Desiring simplicity in busy lives, consumers are looking for products that are uncomplicated and blend seamlessly with their homes.
“The most minimalistic appearance, the least decoration, the simplest and easiest-to-understand interface, and the largest component commonality are the most important innovative ideas,” said Ding.
However, minimalism doesn’t, and shouldn’t make for a cold design.
“A good home appliance should be a family member with a beautiful or handsome appearance,” said Ding. “He or she is smart, reliable, good at communicating, and cares about the family. Whether users touch, wash, use or communicate with it, they should feel its gentleness, friendliness and intelligence through each icon, rounded corner, ridgeline, and every inch of its appearance.”