Sub-Zero Group, Inc.

From Humble Beginnings to Height of Refinement

Innovation Center Celebrates One of America’s Most Storied Brands



Sub-Zero Group is the quintessential American manufacturing success story. The third-generation, family-owned appliance company enlisted ZEBRADOG to leverage over 70 years of industry innovation through design and trailblazing technology across dozens of luxury appliance product lines.


I always thought [ZEBRADOG] was right on with what [they] were designing

Because it speaks to our history but it also speaks to the future. And I think we accomplished both of those things.
Jim Bakke
President and CEO, Sub-Zero Group, Inc.




Exhibit Design
Tour Design
Experiential Design
Interactive Media Design / Development


Historic / Museums / Cultural Centers
Corporate Workspaces / Brands

One of the most storied brands in American manufacturing began as an engineering challenge for Westye F. Bakke who was fighting to find a way to store his son’s insulin at a consistent temperature. His success engineering refrigerators was applied for several years helping architect Frank Lloyd Wright customize refrigerators to fit his infamous design style. In 1945, the Sub-Zero Freezer Company was officially formed in Madison, Wisconsin.

“When my grandfather started the business in 1945 there were many, many refrigeration manufacturers throughout North America,” says Jim Bakke, Westye’s grandson and the current president of Sub-Zero. “His strategy was always to build the best, highest-quality refrigeration, because he knew if he did that, he had the staying power that the other people didn’t. If you build a quality product, you will always have customers.”

Sub-Zero Group, Inc., as it’s known today, has trailblazed technological and design innovation across dozens of product lines over the decades – not only within the refrigeration space but with the development of its Wolf cooking line and Cove dishwashing brand. Icons of design and paragons of performance that are found in the world’s most luxurious homes.

With over 70 years of stories and a rich archive, Sub-Zero Group approached ZEBRADOG to tell its story. The experiential design team set out in 2007 (and again in 2018) to create a bespoke brand experience that celebrates its history and speaks to its bright future.

Leveraging new technology, market awareness, and intuition, ZEBRADOG reimagined the first Product History Museum (2007) as the Innovation Center. The updated experience reflects current brand standards, an expansive product offering, and engaging interactive media for discovery. It’s the first stop for anyone visiting the corporate headquarters and a foodie’s dream.

The Sub-Zero Group’s Innovation Center is a storytelling showplace worthy of the brand that redefined an entire industry and continues to do so.


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