“The invisible design is the real design. Great design leads you without feeling.”
- Martin Darbyshier, CEO of Tangerine Design Consulting
Wallpapers with vivid colors and unique textures, floors with wooden patterns, lights of various shapes, and furniture that reflects each person’s preference. Humans have been designing a lot of factors in their own space. However, one of the things that humans did not focus on in terms of design is home appliances. Some examples would be the typical white refrigerator with a freezer on top and a fridge at the bottom, a black gas stove with two burners, and a thick black television. Humans always used black or white home appliances with the same constitution, even maintaining that same arrangement. However, now they can design numerous home appliances that utilize the latest technology in any color of their choice, while at the same time satisfying the demand for comfort. These home appliances also serve as an important feature in interior design.
Birth of Designed Home Appliances
In the past, home appliance companies unified home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and microwave ovens in white to give consumers a clean image of the products. As this phenomenon continued for a long time, these home appliances began to be called “white goods.” TV, audio, and video products were unified into brown, and the term “brown goods” was created. As the trend of white and brown home appliances passed, the colors of home appliances began to diversify in the 21st century.
At the end of the 2000s, refrigerators with cubic and floral designs began to be in fashion. Yoo Hyun-joon, a professor of architecture at Hongik University, was interviewed on the LG Group YouTube channel on the history of home appliance design that evolved with the change of times, where he said, “There are stained glass at Gothic churches. When there is no picture on stained glass, it is just a window. However, as soon as the biblical story enters the window, the story remains there, and the window loses its presence. In the same way, because the large white refrigerator stood out in the past, new shapes, design patterns, and colors were introduced to erase it. It can be said that by giving some information to the surface, it has the effect of disappearing.”
Design Anatomy DA, a YouTube channel dedicated to design analysis, released a video titled “The secret of Apple, Dyson design in the home appliance industry.” According to the channel, “Growth potential of the home appliance market is in a rut because of focusing on just analog business processes such as cost reduction and factory efficiency, not a creative thought based on existing original technology.”
Since then, companies such as Samsung Electronics, and LG Electronics released various forms of designed home appliances with diverse colors that reflect the newest trends and pursue user convenience.
Designed Home Appliances Usage Cases
In an attempt to gather the opinions of consumers, CBT reporters met with Ms. Woo, a second-year student, and Mrs. Kim. Both are using designed home appliances.
Woo: I am using a cotta-charcoal color dishwasher at my parents’ house. When my mother wanted to buy a dishwasher, she was very worried that the kitchen and interior of the house would not match. However, when I looked into it, I remember that it took quite a long time to choose because there were so many design options. The dishwasher we finally chose is not that different from other basic dishwashers in terms of function, but it is attractive since I could choose the color I wanted from many options.
Kim: I am using a stand-type kimchi refrigerator. According to my color preference, I designed the top door in yellow and the bottom two drawers in white. The kimchi refrigerator I used before was broken and I had to replace it, so I visited the home appliance agency. A staff member told me that people prefer designed home appliances and that I could choose the color I wanted. I feel happy because I designed it myself. Most of all, I had stress trying to fit the design of formal home appliances that were already set to the interior of the house, but now I am glad I do not have to. Also, the door of the kimchi refrigerator I am using is yellow, so I think it is good to create brightness in the house with a vivid color.
Through interviews with designed home appliances users, the CBT reporters determined that the advantage of designed home appliances felt by consumers was that they could choose according to their preferences and even decorate with them. Even if designed home appliances do not have much difference in function from basics, consumers are more satisfied because they designed them themselves.
Designed Home Appliances and Interior Design
- Samsung BESPOKE
Samsung BESPOKE is Samsung Electronics’ personalized and bespoke design brand. The bespoke design can be combined with tens of thousands of combinations because consumers can directly select and combine the color and texture of the product’s exterior. A representative product is the BESPOKE refrigerator. Starting with the number of doors, it allows consumers to choose not only colors, but also textures. In addition, incorporating kitchen fits that enable seamless integration and prevent appliances from protruding, all while adhering to the specific design specifications of these appliances, are also gaining huge popularity. Other home appliances include BESPOKE kimchi refrigerators, water purifiers, dishwashers, inductions, etc.
- LG Objet Collection
LG Electronics launched the LG Objet Collection, which advocates premium private home appliances. These are convergence home appliances that combine home appliances and furniture, and unlike basic home appliances, it is a premium home appliance that focuses on space (furniture characteristics) and individuals. The designed home appliances also provide consumers with various options, allowing consumers to directly select detailed options such as colors. Typically, the LG Tromm Objet Collection Twin Wash is a two-in-one washing machine, and bulky and contaminated laundry goes in the upper tromm, while the mini wash in the lower compartment is available for users to use according to the situation and has color choices. Other home appliances include LG Objet Collection refrigerators, dishwashers, air purifiers, etc.
In addition, home interior company HANSSEM and Samsung Electronics collaborated to launch new products that can customize Samsung Electronics’ home appliances to HANSSEM’s remodeling products. Moreover, the building materials company LG Hausys and LG Electronics collaborated to open new stores and hold exhibitions. Plus, Shinsegae Group’s household furniture company Shinsegae Casa has launched a premium complex store that combines furniture and home appliances with Samsung Electronics.
In this way, designed home appliances have grown based on original technology, and new home appliances are currently being released in combination with the latest technologies such as AI and remote control. In addition, it is pioneering a new path by combining home appliances and furniture to establish the use and practicality of space, as well as design such as color and texture changes. According to an official from Smeg Korea interviewed through Yonhap News Agency, “A product with a groundbreaking design has excellent interior effects,” adding, “Since landing in Korea in 2012, sales of refrigerators have increased by 30-40% annually, and sales of washing machines, dishwashers, and blenders released last year are also soaring.” As designed home appliances are attracting a lot of attention from consumers over time, designed home appliances are expected to achieve constant development in the future.
By Seok Yeon-ji
By Jeong Ha-yeon