Design in the Fifties: the attention to aesthetics was born


In the Fifties the kitchen was composed by free-standing pieces of furniture, with the refrigerator and the gas cooker freely positioned, they too, and without installation binds. Household appliances are only free standing and they start getting noticed inside the kitchen; especially the refrigerator with bombed and rounded shapes, curved edges and smoothed corners, which can be opened with horizontal metal handle. Appliances are often not manufactured in white, but in soft colours like cream, such as gas cookers, very diffused in Italians’ houses. The so-called economic cookers had circular hobs directly supporting pots, controlled by knobs, and in the lower part the oven, which could be opened with a knob and without any glass. The washing machine generally had circular lines and it was a sort of big basin where the laundry was loaded from the top, still produced in soft colours.
In the Fifties start the earliest collaborations with designers, in particular Gino Valle who took care of Zanussi design centre and Pietro Geranzani who signed lots of Candy washing machines indeed; both characterized household appliances with useful design, aimed at facilitating their use through pleasant shapes but with practicality in the forefront.
Among small appliances, the kitchen robot starts showing brighter colours, an example is represented by the very famous KitchenAid with planetary motion, born in 1919 in white and steel, which in 1955 becomes coloured: sunflower yellow, green, pink, satin chrome and antique copper, to which in 1962 are added colours like grain and avocado. Colour is also another way for standing out but it springs also from the styling fashions marking out these years.
On January 3rd 954 RAI Italian Radio Television officially starts broadcasting and the TV set, even if very slowly, starts appearing in Italians’ houses. They are cumbersome wood appliances, bulky also owing to the elongated shape of the cathode tube and of the valve electronics.