BENTON HARBOR, Mich., Feb. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For product designers, few challenges are as daunting as creating a new design for an iconic brand. When that brand is KitchenAid, and the challenge includes creating an entirely new collection and finish that will stand out in a sea of stainless steel, the stakes are considerable.
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The result of these efforts is a new KitchenAid collection in stainless steel, black, white and an industry-first black stainless steel. In addition to featuring this new finish, it will be the first KitchenAid collection to launch globally, with U.S. availability starting in April of 2015.
"Our goal from the outset was not to completely reinvent the KitchenAid brand, but to visually convey its essence in a bold, fresh and forward-looking way," said Patrick Schiavone, Global Vice President of Design for parent company Whirlpool Corporation. "Even if we hadn't introduced a dramatic new finish, there would be no mistaking this as any other brand's design."
Schiavone looks at the new black stainless steel finish as the best of both worlds: professionally-inspired like stainless steel, but more subtle and fashion-forward.
"Like traditional stainless, black stainless steel has a satiny luster, paired with a modern sleekness that makes its own style statement," says Schiavone. "It allows design nuances of both the appliances and the kitchen itself to pop."
Jason Tippetts, design lead for KitchenAid, says the overall design process started with an exploration of five key attributes that he and fellow designers see as essential to the brand.
"Our consumers and trade customers have always seen KitchenAid as iconic, authentic, well-crafted, balanced and approachable," he said. "Our work focused on channeling these valuable, longstanding attributes in a new direction."
For Tippetts and the broader design team, the reference point for translating iconic status and authenticity into the collection was the brand's Stand Mixer, introduced in 1919, and other KitchenAid small appliances that have set the benchmark for both the brand and the industry.
"The hints of chrome, the professionally-inspired feel and function, and even the way they're badged as KitchenAid products made our small appliances a natural starting place for the creative process," says Tippetts. "Coupled with current consumer insights and feedback from kitchen design and culinary professionals, elements of these much-loved products were applied holistically across the entire major appliance collection."
Balance and approachability take on a number of meanings in the new design. First, says Tippetts, the team explored ways to balance professionally-inspired aesthetics and performance with a warm, non-industrial look more suitable for the stylish home kitchen. As with professional appliances, the team wanted the new collection to instantly communicate the high performance within. But, he says, the second part of the equation was to reveal more and more subtle design and craftsmanship details as one interacts more closely with the appliances.
"At the end of the day, KitchenAid is about inspiring culinary creativity, so every part of this collection is meant to serve as an invitation to not only admire, but to cook, to explore and to push boundaries in the kitchen," he said.
Since the introduction of its legendary stand mixer in 1919 and first dishwasher in 1949, KitchenAid has built on the legacy of these icons to create a complete line of products designed for cooks. Today, the KitchenAid brand offers virtually every essential for the well-equipped kitchen with a collection that includes everything from countertop appliances to cookware, ranges to refrigerators, and whisks to wine cellars. Cook for the Cure®, the brand's partnership with Susan G. Komen®, is now in its fourteenth year and has raised over $10 million to help find a cure for breast cancer. To learn why chefs choose KitchenAid for their homes more than any other brand*, visit www.KitchenAid.com or join us at http://facebook.com/KitchenAid and http://twitter.com/KitchenAidUSA.
* Based on a 2012 survey, KitchenAid was found to be the home kitchen appliance brand chosen most often by members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.