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KitchenAid Pro Line Toasters

Winner - Bronze

Competition: Spark:Product
Designer: Design Team - Whirlpool Global Consumer Design
Design Type: Kitchen Electric Appliances
Website: http://www.kitchenaid.com

Design Team: Whirlpool Global Consumer Design (Patrick Schiavone, Leif Norland, Christopher Gregory, Vincent Haley, Zachary Lownds), Twisthink Since introducing its legendary stand mixer in 1919, KitchenAid has built on its heritage to create two new premium toasters. Cast in aluminum and finished with automotive inspired powder coat paints, KitchenAid’s Pro Line Toasters reflect the brand’s legacy of bold and visionary, yet highly approachable design. The roots of the brand’s design aesthetic can be traced to Egmont Arens, who redesigned the stand mixer in the Streamline Moderne style in 1936. Its distinctive silhouette is among the very few, including the Coca-Cola bottle and Mickey Mouse’s ears, to have earned trademark status. The challenge here was to create two new premium toasters that would be as intuitive, beautiful, and timeless as the stand mixer. Streamlined forms mimic the head of the stand mixer, while an instantly recognizable metal trim band similarly showcases the KitchenAid logo. Using a metal casting allowed the products to carry a substantial footing on the countertop, with the 2-slice toaster weighing an impressive 10.5 pounds and the 4-slice toaster approximately 16 pounds. The design team also committed to continuing the pioneering use of color by applying robust powder coat paints on a majority of the product. Launching with four stunning colors (Candy Apple Red, Medallion Silver, Onyx Black, and Frosted Pearl) the color palate draws directly from the extensive line of mixer colors, all of which are applied to the metal castings often using two coats of paint to achieve a deeper, more lustrous metallic effect. The design team included a studio engineer who worked closely with the lead designer to deliver Class A, curvature continuous surfacing to the forms. The end results are smooth, seamless surfaces that capture highlights and reflections in an ideal way. Although consumers are not usually aware of such detailing related to surface design, they are able to perceive the resulting subtle differences that add up to a more attractive form. A strong focus was placed on creating a user experience that was simple and effortless but also elegantly executed to reflect the premium price point. Operation is very intuitive with automatic sensors that lower bread as soon as it is placed in a slot. A cast zinc selector knob correlates with white LED lights to allow users to choose from one of 13 shade settings. Self-centering racks adjust according to bread thickness to produce consistent browning from side to side. Pro Line Toasters feature easy-to-navigate buttons with light ring indicators for each function mode. A bagel function evenly browns the cut side of a bagel without burning the outside, and a frozen function allows bread to thaw before completing the toasting cycle. If your toast is not done to the desired shade, “A Little Longer” extends toasting time to continue browning without needing to move the shade selector. If toast is done but you’re not there, Auto Keep Warm keeps toast at the right temperature for 3 minutes after the cycle is complete.