Whirlpool Corporation’s innovative vision of the future circa 1950s will be featured in museum exhibit

By Cean Burgeson — Whirlpool Corporation

Whirlpool Corporation has a long history of innovation reaching back decades. An example of this innovative design tradition will be available to the public at an exhibition featuring the RCA-Whirlpool Miracle Kitchen at the London Design Museum’s headline gallery starting on Nov. 7 and running until March of 2019. On display will be a digitized copy of the 1957 black and white promotional film that featured several futuristic kitchen and home appliances, along with some promotional product stills from that era.

The exhibition was created in partnership with the IKEA Museum. After being on display in London, the exhibit will travel to the IKEA Museum in Älmhult, Sweden in the spring of 2019.

The London Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989, it has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over five million visitors, and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects.

Anya Smirnova, curatorial assistant at the Design Museum, explained why they approached Whirlpool Corporation to be a part of the exhibit.

“The RCA-Whirlpool Miracle Kitchen is an important historical reference,” said Smirnova. “Exhibited originally at the American National Exhibition held in the USSR in 1959, it imagined a mechanized kitchen that promised to liberate the housewife from work through miraculous push-button technology.”

“In many ways, the features of the kitchen, like the autonomous vacuum cleaner, anticipated today’s domestic robots and smart home devices. As a pre-history of the contemporary smart home, the RCA-Whirlpool Miracle Kitchen provides important historical context for the contemporary sections of the show.”

Smirnova works alongside Senior Curator Eszter Steierhoffer and Chief Curator Justin McGuirk on researching and sourcing the historical and contemporary exhibits that form this exhibition, as well as editing and contributing to the catalog. The team projects to have an attendance upwards of 38,000 visitors over the five months that the exhibition will be on display at the Design Museum.