02 September 2010

Sub-Zero/ Wolf's Westye Bakke Center: better photography

As I posted last week, I was a recent guest of Sub-Zero/ Wolf at their Westye F. Bakke Center and corporate headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.

During the Depression years of the 1930s, self-taught engineer Westye F. Bakke worked as a refrigeration consultant with Frank Lloyd Wright. He invented and developed built-in refrigerators and freezers for such Wright projects as the Johnson Wax Building and Wingspread. In 1945, Bakke founded Sub-Zero and he named his company for the fact that his freezers were the first to hold a consistent temperature below zero.

The Westye F. Bakke Center is a training and meeting facility that sits between the Sub-Zero refrigeration plant and the Wolf cooking appliance plant. As incredible as the building is, that it sits squarely between the two factories that made the building possible speaks volumes about Sub-Zero/ Wolf as a company and as a group of people.

I was dissatisfied with the photos I took of the Center when I was there last week, and Diane White from Sub-Zero/ Wolf's marketing department sent me a collection of their official photos. Here are some highlights of the things I saw in Madison.

Here's the building itself. It was designed by the Madison architectural firm Zingg Design.

This is the staircase to the second floor, where the administrative offices and main dining room are.

Suspended from the second floor ceiling are the Chihuly chandeliers that catch everybody's attention when you enter the building.

As I mentioned last week, I have a connection (though tenuous) to the Art Nouveau lounge in the center. The man who designed it, Bill Draper, is a genius.

I think his Brasserie des Artistes is as perfect an homage to the Art Nouveau movement as I've ever seen.

Down the hall from it are two adjoining Mick de Giulio kitchens that despite their size, don't feel anything like the commercial spaces they are.

The entire Westye F. Bakke Center and my experiences there were the sorts of things kitchen designers daydream about. Designer people out there, do not pass up an opportunity to take a pilgrimage to Madison.

And for all of you non-designer people, Sub-Zero/ Wolf has extended their current instant rebate program through March, 2011. At stake is an instant rebate worth up to $2500. You can find more information on their website.

Many thanks again to my Sub-Zero/ Wolf rep, Cathy Bame, for making all of this possible. Many, many thanks go to the great people at Sub-Zero/ Wolf in Madison for being such enthusiastic hosts. Let's sell some refrigerators and ranges!

You can see Sub-Zero/ Wolf's entire collection of food preservation and preparation appliances on their website.


  1. That's a commercial kitchen? Wow, could've fooled me. I can't believe I lived in Madison for nearly two years and missed that place!

  2. Take a class there now and make a weekend out of it. You're a dealer, they'll welcome you with open arms.

  3. Oh my GOD. That lounge looks amazing. ... I want my whole house done like that.. WOW.

  4. I cannot imagine what the retail price on something like that would be. Bill Draper's work is as good as it gets.

  5. I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Draper at a KABIS show a few years back when he designed Sub-Zero's display. What a charming, humble man. The display was unforgettable. Unfortunately I believed them when they said no cameras, so I don't have a picture of it. The way he integrated the refrigerator in the space was amazing.

  6. Which year Sue? He did some incredible displays for them, just incredible.

  7. I want to say it was about five or six years ago. It was in Chicago. It was one of the last time they did a group of kitchen vignettes.


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