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Sub-Zero/Wolf – Designer Training – Day 2

Entry #285, September 29, 2010

Yesterday was day 2 of the Sub-Zero/Wolf Designer Training here in Madison, Wisconsin.  Let me begin by saying that the day was so incredibly fact filled, senses overload, opportunity of a lifetime experience type of day. It was one of those experiences that I continually throughout the day said to myself, “Is this really happening?”

sign reception

Reception desk at Westye F. Bakke Center

Guests of the center are welcomed by Dale Chihuly glass chandeliers hung from the atrium ceiling.


Welcoming atrium at the Bakke Center

If you provide a quality unit to your customers, you’ll always have customers”

Westye F. Bakke


Info board

The day started off with an incredible breakfast by corporate chef, Eric Rupert. The smell of fresh bacon graced our noses as we walked into the Bakke center and the beautiful architectural and interior design made for a wonderful way to start our day.

After breakfast we learned about Sub-Zero products and took a tour of the manufacturing plant.  What impressed me the most in the manufacturing plant was the cleanliness and the extreme automation that made each step of the process look like it runs like a quality oiled machine.  From the sheet metal being rolled out, to the finished refrigerator stored in a box, we saw every step it takes to make a quality driven and quality assured Sub-Zero product.

We later learned about Westye F. Bakke, a man who only made it through the eighth grade, but had the drive to learn and would later invent the first dual refrigeration refrigerator that could keep its temperature below freezing, thus the name ‘Sub-Zero.’

We saw a beautiful museum and presentation that outlined Westye F. Bakke and his family tradition for bringing the Sub-Zero product to fruition.

The white refrigerator below we are told still has the ability to keep cold!

Museum refrigerator

Sub-Zero museum outlines the early days of the refrigerator

museum refrig 2

Sub-Zero was the first to create the ‘built-in’ refrigerator

museum stove 3

Sub-Zero acquired Wolf and became the American kitchen appliance giant as we know it today.

We later had a tour of the Bakke center.

The Bakke Center is an opportunity to experience our brands come to life, combining the best in food preservation and the best in cooking equipment,” said Michele Bedard, director of marketing for Sub-Zero and Wolf. “Everyone can touch, feel, taste and smell what’s cooked on Wolf products, and experience the ease of use of our products.”

The tour was very memorable, from the beautifully appointed demonstration kitchens to the designer commissioned dining rooms. It was if all of our senses were being engaged at the Bakke Center.

Sub-Zero and Wolf commissioned nationally renowned designers Jamie Drake, Bill Draper and Mick de Giulio to lend their design expertise to two demonstration kitchens, a pub and an intimate dining room, as well as a large formal dining room that can accommodate 140 people at a seated dinner.

-Press Release March 31, 2005


cooking demo kitchen 1

One of two beautiful cooking demonstration kitchens

Here, Chef Eric makes us some delicious caramelized onion flat bread and demonstrates the Wolf products.

cooking demo chef

Seeing the products in action and experiencing the food was amazing!

cooking demo kitchen 2_waterfall

Gorgeous water feature wall in the East meets West demonstration kitchen

Lastly, in the Living Kitchen, all the Sub-Zero/Wolf products are on display to interact with.

living kitchen_subzero 1

Sub-Zero refrigerators

living kitchen subzero 4

Sub- Zero – Wine storage, and refrigerators and freezers

To condense down the experience into one post doesn’t do the phenomenal Bakke Center justice.  It is an honor as an Associate Architect/Designer/Writer to appreciate the level of quality and commitment Sub-Zero/Wolf puts into their products and into their appreciation for the designers.

Today, we visit the Wolf manufacturing facility – check back tomorrow!

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