The most forefront built-in refrigerators allow to offer consumers advanced solutions for food storage, perfectly integrating themselves in the kitchen environment
by Elena Corti
From one door to double doors, up to fridge-freezers models: among built-in refrigerators there are several options that can be offered to consumers to help them to find the most suitable solution for their kitchen, combining aesthetics, organization of the internal space and advanced technologies. In addition to the size and type of appliance, when choosing it, it is important to consider, for example, if there is the need of a large area to freeze food or a fridge with a larger capacity than the average. There are products with a design studied to meet particular capacity needs and appliances with reversible doors that not only are useful for perfectly fitting into any kitchen but can also double the refrigeration capacity if two refrigerators are placed side by side and the doors of one of them are inverted. In terms of internal space organization, in addition to the quantitative aspect it is also important to think about what we are used to storage in the refrigerator. There are in fact several possibilities to find the most suitable place for everything, obtaining the best conservation results. Some manufacturers propose appliances with a specific drawer for meat, fish and dairy products, which is added to that for fruit and vegetables and maintains the ideal temperature and humidity to keep these delicate foods fresh longer.
Among other possibilities, there are the pizza compartment in the freezer and the specific little balconies designed to also store cosmetic products. Customization and flexibility are among the most considered aspects in the recent models: among the latest proposals, products are available with the inner door equipped with a track system that allows to hook containers of different sizes and types in order to choose the most suitable combination every time and for everybody’s needs. Another solution is that which allows to split one of the shelves thanks to a sliding system enabling the front of the shelf to move under the remaining half (a useful solution for example for placing bottles). Finally, for those who need to use space flexibly, there are also products that allow to vary the temperature of the freezer compartment by choosing among four different modes.
Advanced technologies to satisfy every need
The high technological level reached by the built-in refrigerators makes several advanced functions available to consumers. For example, those who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables could be interested in a device that uses UV rays to recreate the photosynthesis process, preserving the quality and freshness of these foods.
Another important aspect for consumers is that of hygiene: to obtain high performance on this front, it is possible to opt for an appliance equipped with an anti-odor/antibacterial filter or capable of releasing active oxygen. In addition, to preserve food better and longer, the most modern built-in refrigerators are equipped with electronic control and advanced technologies to precisely manage temperature, humidity and air circulation. Different products have two separate cooling systems for the fridge and freezer in order to obtain optimal conditions inside each compartment. Finally, as regards energy efficiency, the Holiday mode, available in some appliances, permits to save energy by turning off only the refrigerator without also turning off the freezer, while the presence of a Digital Inverter compressor ensures efficiency and silence.
Harmony of elements in the kitchen environment The built-in refrigerator meets the needs of those who want a perfect integration between furniture and appliances, obtaining a homogeneous, functional and aesthetically appealing kitchen environment. To propose this type of solution in the best way, it is important to have an overall vision that considers not only the single appliance but the kitchen area as a whole. With Francesco Meneghello, founder of the interior design studio “Il Sentiero delle More”, we deepen how a built-in refrigerator can influence the aesthetic perception of a kitchen. The designer has achieved various international awards and in 2016 he won the honorable mention at the Cristalplant Design Contest in collaboration with Elica.
Does the placement of the built-in refrigerator significantly affect the kitchen design? If we start from the assumption that the refrigerator is a central and essential element of the kitchen, there are cases in which it is important to give it a value, a certain presence, especially given the fact that today all the manufacturing companies are able to provide very appealing solutions. Let's also remember solutions, which certainly have more impact in the United States, where the refrigerator can be placed inside an island and access is from above. Certainly more uncomfortable and of limited volume, it however makes up for aesthetic constraints that some customers can request without compromise.
Is it possible the positioning of other appliances next to the fridge to create an area of the kitchen dedicated to “Cooling"? We reason a lot on it, dedicating an area not only to "Cooling" but also to “Cooking" and other useful elements such as vacuum systems, steam ovens, low temperature cooking systems, professional machines for coffee, zones dedicated to aromatic plants and spices and much more. This is, in my opinion, the result of a social awareness - and often a fashion - towards the world of cooking and food preparation, given by the media coverage of talent shows such as Masterchef and related ones.
The kitchen is increasingly a "tailor-made dress" and the built-in refrigerator is part of this "look": how to harmonize the fridge column with the rest of the kitchen environment on an aesthetic level? Often we try to create a symmetry by arranging a second column on the opposite side, usable as a pantry, or trying to balance the visual impact of a column with other useful components inside the kitchen: for example, breakfast counter and quick lunches, a professional slicer etc.
Do a built-in refrigerator and a free-standing refrigerator express two different kitchen ideas? Absolutely yes: the first is part of an aesthetic language in which the technological components of a home are as much as possible hidden by ornamental elements, more or less elaborate, therefore a Japanese descent approach in which there is a rigor of cleanliness and functional accessories appearing only when there is a real need for use. A striking example are kitchens that are born as totally hidden by a boiserie and built into the wall; the second, on the other hand, follows a more western aesthetic trend, in which we often witness the spectacularization of objects, from a simple piece of furniture to an appliance such as a refrigerator. Today both solutions are valid because even the refrigerators on display enjoy a certain beauty and often also become a piece of furniture. It's just a matter of taste.