The nice folks at Big Chill reached out and asked if I wanted to be the first on the www to show photos of their new refrigerator design, and I said, heck yes. This is their new “Retropolitan” refrigerator, which is their first to feature a bottom freezer. I spoke by phone with Orion Creamer, who is co-founder of Big Chill and also product designer. He explained that (1) lots of customers have been asking for a bottom freezer and (2) lots of customers have been asking for a more mod style — “Jetsons, rather than Donna Reed”.
“We tried to make it as simple as possible,” said Orion. “We’re going for a modern crowd, who want yellow or blue, but don’t necessarily want it to look like 1955. A lot of our customers were telling us, ‘We’re getting your fridge becuase your the only ones who make orange.'”
So with the Retropolitan, Orion got rid of the curves that screamed 50s, but kept lots of chrome. He adds that, down the line, they may make some additional handles available.
Since I had Orion on the phone, I also asked about the guts of the fridge. Yes: The ‘box’ for the Big Chills come from a major manufacturer, such as Amana. Then, Big Chill completely “re-skins” the refrigeratorswith a heavy gauge steel. Paint is powder-coated on. There are eight stock colors, oryou can order from over 200 custom colors. They use what’s called the powder coating RAL color chart as a reference. Doors can open to either the right, or left.
This Retropolitan is slightly smaller in scale than the 1950s-styled Big Chill original. It’s 30″ deep (rather than 33″ for the original), 66″ high (vs. 68.5″). It is Energy Star-certified. Big Chill also offers a smaller Studio Series.
This newest product seems to underscore a belief that there is a market for kitchen appliances in more colors than stainless steel, white, bisque and black: “We’re trying to expand out of being a company of 1955 designs to being a design company based on color and design,” Orion says. Color! Yay!