Appliances: Dream Machines

<< Back to Robb Report, January 2003
  • Linda C. Lentz

"Design is not form OR function—it’s the aesthetic synthesis of the two," says Ferdinand A. Porsche. And when Porsche talks, we listen, for he knows whereof he speaks. He is the grandson of the creator of the Volkswagen Beetle and the son of the man responsible for the original 356 sports coupe that bears his name. He is also a notable designer in his own right. At the family auto plant in Stuttgart in 1963, he created the body of the inimitable Porsche 911. In 1974 he founded Porsche Design to diversify his talents. Over the past 25 years, Porsche and his design team have developed a multitude of product concepts, from sunglasses, watches, pens, luggage, knives, pipe paraphernalia, and golf gear to myriad electronics and home furnishings.

It is no wonder that Bosch (a division of BSH Home Appliances) approached this prolific design studio to energize its small appliance group with an upscale line equal in looks and performance to its innovative dishwashers, cooktops, ovens, and laundry equipment. The German-based manufacturer could not be more pleased with the collaboration. The F.A. Porsche Designer Series, which comprises a coffeemaker, blender, juicer, and water kettle, "is incomparable to other kitchen products," says Hans-Peter Hasse, president and CEO of Bosch.

Each piece is cylindrical and housed in brushed aluminum—the silvery alloy favored as much for its fingerprint resistance as its sleek style. "The Porsche appliances not only look good, they perform and live up to the name," says 30 Minute Gourmet Chef J. Warren, a spokesman for Bosch. The coffeemaker has a stainless steel heating chamber and double-shell thermal carafe for optimum flavor and heat retention, and a removable water tank. The kettle brings one cup of water to a boil in less than a minute. The juicer, with its playful aqua plastic reamer, gets serious with a high-speed centrifugal system for maximum juice extraction directly into a glass.

The most unusual of the quartet is the blender, which has a sensuous profile more akin to a carafe than an indispensable bar accessory. Its long blades are shaped to pull the food down in a cyclonic action, which enables the powerful 450-watt motor to pulverize ice into a fine powder and whip the smoothest smoothie. "You can even chop meat in it," says Warren.

Encouraged by the success of the Porsche Designer Series (which was available in Europe for five years prior to last year’s U.S. launch), Bosch raised the bar on in-house designs as well. The Solitaire Kitchen Machine, an upgrade of a 52-year-old innovation, may be the definitive cook’s tool. Its 700-watt motor, encased in a slim stainless steel base, can be built-in or freestanding and operates the gamut of countertop appliances—blender, six-quart mixer, ice-cream maker, and food processor. The Ultra Platinum canister vacuum, which has the look and feel of a European roadster in its pearlized shades of gray and with a quiet 12-amp motor with fingertip controls, is the ultimate accoutrement for the well-appointed home. "Bosch is respected worldwide for its appliances," says Hasse. "We are extending that expertise into a new range of small appliances because today’s consumers demand high quality."

BSH Home Appliances, 866.442.6724, www.boschappliances.com

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