Anyone who has visited Florence, Rome, or Venice knows what Italian craftsmen and artisans can do when they work together.
It’s no surprise, then, that a new collaboration between famed fashion house Dolce & Gabbana and Italian home appliance manufacturer SMEG turned heads with a new refrigerator at Milan Design Week, an event that’s bursting forth with cutting-edge looks and groundbreaking new products.
Even by the standards of SMEG, whose retro-inspired fridge is a cult design classic, and who partnered with Dolce & Gabbana two years ago to show off a new line of classic small appliances, these chillers are outrageous.
Each refrigerator is hand-painted by Sicilian artists with scenes inspired by the colorful, traditional Sicilian carretto, or horse-drawn cart. The same designs are also featured prominently in Dolce & Gabbana's new fashion collection.
According to SMEG, subjects depicted on refrigerators include “the chivalric tales recounted by troubadours, the deeply-felt religious devotion of the Sicilian people, mythology, episodes from Italian opera, as well as the natural world.”
Popular motifs include St. George slaying the dragon, scenes from the lives of Charlemagne’s Paladins, and the triskelion found on the Sicilian flag.
The Frigorifero d’Arte will be sold in a limited edition of 100, each retailing for $34,000. That’s more than what many Americans spend on an entire kitchen renovation—but far less than plenty of objets d’art on display at Design Week.
A big collaboration deserves a big party, and that’s just what these fridges got. While it’s not unusual for a flagship home appliance to receive an auspicious introduction, this show was simply over the top.
Dolce & Gabbana’s Metropol—the same space where the label hosts fashion shows—set a raucous Sicilian celebration amidst the poised backdrop of Milan.
Performers danced and sang all night long as smartly dressed waiters served cocktails, and attendees snapped photos and videos with their phones. VIP guests included label founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
Despite the excess, the event felt like an appropriate celebration for the subject matter. After all, Sicilian farmers didn’t have to elaborately decorate the plain, wooden carts they used to make a living. But from creativity and pride came the carretto—the most quotidian of machinery, transformed into a celebration of the Sicilian people.
The Frigorifero d’Arte proves that, in the right hands, even a boring kitchen appliance can fill that same role.