There’s that classic flat-coloured, enamel painted home appliance look favoured by artists of the heady 50s and my high-end brands of today in small numbers, and then there is the sort of electric shiny version of the coloured home appliance which we ended up with in the last three decades. This shiny metallic red microwave oven is a fine example of the latter. I guess it was an inevitable shift. Cars too had flat enamel style paint in past decades and these days we seem to favour the metallic shades, we’ve grown to see them as more modern and futuristic with flat colours being a sign of bygone times. Using the reverse logic, since customised sports cars are now getting vinyl matt color surfaces as the new hot thing, perhaps a matt red microwave will be finding its way soon to a kitchen near you.
The ubiquity of household equipment has dulled the sense of their specialness to some extent, but there was a time when they were a magical thing for most and the stylishly designed red refrigerator was not unheard of. In fact, such pieces of domestic fashion are everywhere to be seen in the optimistic Americana of the 50s, when a labour saving device in every household or any such luxury was a sign of the prosperous future after the down times of the war. This aesthetic still exists, of course, now mostly reserved to high-end brands of furniture and appliances, to be used in modernist interior design masterpieces by the discerning clients and designers. But surely a red refrigerator isn’t too much to ask for, as warning buoy in the minefield of every urban kitchen, or as smart stylistic statement in those otherwise drab, beige and white interiors we now consider the adequate home. A little colour never hurt anyone.