Design Moment: Smeg FAB fridge c. 1997

Smeg’s colourful options and striking vintage design make it stand out

We know that Wallace and Gromit, those lovable claymation figures, don't have a mean bone in their bodies (or any bones, come to think of it) so they weren't being horrible in their 2005 film 'The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' when they featured a Smug fridge.

It was a sign of the times. That tall, curvy retro-shaped fridge is instantly recognisable as a Smeg, which after the Aga, is possibly the most recognisable large kitchen appliance.

In an era of hidden away integrated appliances and industrial type stainless steel ones, Smeg’s colourful options stand out. Smeg was set up in 1948 in Reggia Emilia in Italia as the Smalterie Metallurgiche Emiliane Guastalla (metal enamelling factory) and it remains in the same family, the Bertazzonis. The Fab fridge was designed not when it looks – the 1950s – but in the late 1990s by the company’s own design team.

The striking vintage design comes in a variety of colours – the pastel and the cream versions being particularly popular – and ot took off in the noughties when open-plan kitchen/dining/livingrooms became the favoured layout.


The idea took hold that if you have to look at a fridge, it could be good-looking; it could even become a focal point, a design statement. The Fab has picked up many design awards and has even been the cause of controversy. Early series of ‘The Great British Bake Off ’ featured six Smeg Fab fridges, but after many complaints the BBC ruled it breached its editorial guidelines, which forbid product placement.