We found yet another little slice of Europe in Las Vegas at Design and Construction week.
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Liebherr, makers of high-end refrigerators and wine storage, brought some of the Europe-only products we saw debut at IFA Berlin last year to Design and Construction Week in Las Vegas. And if there's enough interest from consumers and retailers, there's a good chance they'll be coming to the US.
First up is the TipOpen wine cooler. Designed to fit totally flush with cabinetry, it has no handle; to open it, you simply brush your hand or hip against the top corner. Push it even partly closed, and the door shuts itself automatically. It's meant to integrate into European "handle-free kitchens"—a popular design trend that's gained traction here in Las Vegas, as well.
A Liebherr representative let us know it would be going on sale in September in single-zone and dual-zone configurations. Though its $2,500 price may be prohibitive for most consumers, it's a good bet for wealthy wine connoisseurs looking for some under-counter storage.
Next was the 24-inch freestanding refrigerator. It's a common size and style in Europe, and also popular in smaller condominiums and luxury apartments in cities like New York and San Francisco, where space is at a premium. It's meant to compete with similar models from Miele, and will clearly be intended for the high end of the market. While checking out the booth, we even ran into a prospective customer who let us know it would be perfect for her vacation home.
If it makes it to the States, the 24-inch model would be one of the smaller, less expensive fridges Liebherr sells here, retailing for between $3,500 and $3,800. But that doesn't mean it skimps on features.
Like nearly all its bigger brothers, this fridge features dual compressors and evaporators—one for the fridge, one for the freezer. There are also other luxury features, like a thermostat that promises 1°F accuracy and BioFresh drawers that can supposedly keep lettuce crisp and ready to eat for up to two weeks.
In theory, it could also feature the Cool Vision line of exterior finishes that we saw at IFA in Berlin, including slate, rust, and black steel—which we saw on the prototype at Design and Construction Week.
A Liebherr representative told us it was "very possible" that we'd see those exterior finish options here.