Appliances: Undercounter Culture

<< Back to Robb Report, February 2006

When in 2000 the BBC presented a retrospective of items that have become symbolic of 20th-century design, it included the Coca-Cola bottle, the VW Beetle, and the Aga stove. A hundred years from now, the BBC may be able to revisit the cooker—as the Brits call it—and feature it as a 21st-century design icon.
 
The bottle and bug have changed since their debuts, but a new Aga appears and operates much the same as the original model, which was patented in 1922 by inventor Gustaf Dalén, a Swede who 10 years earlier had earned the Nobel Prize for physics for creating automatic valves used in lighthouses. The radiant-heat stove, which has been manufactured in England since 1929, is still made of cast iron coated with vitreous enamel, and it still bears the contoured doors with which the brand is readily identified. Now the company, after which Dalén’s Svenska Aktiebolaget Gas Accumulator range is named, has applied some of these signature design elements to its new wine cellar and three other refrigeration products.

The 24-inch-wide wine preserver ($2,600) holds 54 bottles and fits beneath a countertop. Its curvaceous doors and thick enamel (in black, cream, or claret) are the ornamentation for an appliance that provides long-term storage for both whites and reds by maintaining a temperature of approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of 60 percent to 70 percent. Its 440 BTU compressor emits little heat and almost no vibration, so it will not disturb the vintages. The door’s double-pane, UV-resistant glass keeps sunlight out while offering a view of the stock.
 
The undercounter series also includes a refrigerator with 6.1 cubic feet of storage space, an ice machine that eliminates impurities as the water freezes, and refrigerated drawers lined with stainless steel. Each of the items is available through North American dealers or at the company’s first U.S. store, which opened last year in Brookfield, Conn. All of the appliances feature the door design that is the hallmark of Aga. “We’re really trying to expand the product line to give people more options to expand the Aga look in their kitchens,” says Andrea Greene, vice president of marketing and operations for Aga Ranges, “and to take it to other areas of their homes.”

 

Aga, 800.633.9200, www.aga-ranges.com

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