This past summer, Whirlpool released a new range of kitchen appliances in a new premium exterior finish named “White Ice”, sparking articles/commentary asking if Stainless Steel has been replaced by sleek new alternatives.

 

 

 

 

These appliances also come in “Black Ice”, as well as the usual Stainless Steel.

 

 

 

On first glance I can not help but to wonder if Whirlpool is taking queues from iPhone 4; though departure from the long standing, monolithic, stainless steel finish is a welcome change in my opinion. However, I wonder if this will be a short-lived “fashionable” finish as white kitchen appliances are the norm for non-luxury rental apartments here in New York city. One really has to look very close in these photographs to see the shadows and reflections that give hints of depth especially around the Whirlpool logo, which is nonexistent on the Black Ice models. The photos make the black appliances look like they have a satin aluminum finish.

 

Refrigeratorinfo.com‘s article states Whirlpool’s intentions:

Because the whole suite of appliances have such a unique style that’s exclusive to one manufacturer, it’s a safe bet that Whirlpool is hoping customers will upgrade their entire kitchen instead of taking a piecemeal approach.

Whirlpool seems to be aiming their new finish at customers who have grown weary of stainless and its numerous imitators. Indeed, the manufacturer says the new finish is “signifying a shift in the culture of home appliances.” Because it’s essentially an update of the classic white exterior, White Ice may appeal to consumers who are bored by stainless but also don’t want their kitchens to look dated. For Whirlpool, it’s an attempt to appeal to homeowners in a bottomed-out housing market, where renovating is less about increasing resale value and more about appealing to an individual’s own tastes.

Before the recession, investors looking to flip a house for profit wanted to install upscale finishes that could cheaply and easily update the look of a home. So from the HGTV-era onward, the most popular kitchens have combined granite countertops along with stainless steel appliances. Go to any home improvement store and you’ll be sure to see rows upon rows of fridges and dishwashers with stainless steel and stainless-style exteriors.

Interestingly it also goes onto say:

It wasn’t always that way, and all it takes is a look at classic sitcoms to see how far kitchens have come. If I Love Lucy were in color, the Ricardo’s kitchen likely would’ve had pastel finishes alongside white and stainless. Along with shows like Maude andSoap, the ’70s and early ’80s brought in earth tones, like avocado, harvest gold and almond. Later on, white and bisque became popular — even on the upscale appliances that Geoffrey tended to in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

In addition to the modern White Ice, there are several other alternative finishes available on premium appliances. Smeg, an Italian company, builds retro-looking fridges that could easily be mistaken for your grandmother’s Norge. They’re available in a whole rainbow of shades, from bright yellow to deep purple. AGA, a British manufacturer, puts hard vitreous enamel surfaces in a variety of different colors on their ovens and dishwashers. Whirlpool’s own Amana division also introduced a series of colorful refrigerators in 2009, including an exterior called Green Tea which features a floral motif.

 

Refrigeratorpro.com points out that White Ice solves some of the problems that exists with stainless steel finishes.

  1. Fingerprints – oily fingers leave marks on the grains of stainless steel
  2. Lyme deposits – build up around the base of water dispensers on models with stainless steel finishes
  3. The new material is slightly more scratch resistant than stainless steel