Exploring the plethora of design-friendly options.
BY STEVE PANOSIAN
IN A RECENT ARTICLE I WROTE, Automate the Experience, I discussed home lighting automation and control. My wife and I had converted our kitchen, dining and living room into one great room, but the only missing element was automation, so setting the room’s lighting involved the manual adjustment of a half dozen wall switches for dimming or turning them on and off. I know, I know, I write for a technology design magazine and I’m living in the dark ages (yes, pun intended!).
Since writing the article, it became apparent that we needed to do something. The two separate thermostats and the existing array of light switches located on the hallway wall were a bit busy looking and nothing matched aesthetically. Consolidating the two separate heating and HVAC thermostats for a Smart Thermostat was an easy choice — despite the design and temperature display landing on the techy-looking side as far as we were both concerned. But problem solved, as we begin to ponder the myriad choices of light switches and the related lighting control options for the upper-level great room — exploring the world of smart switches and enjoying some level of automation has revealed many different design options.
technology meets design
For me, exploring the options for something as simple as a light switch turned into the fascinating realization that technology does in fact meet design. The design options offered by what I would consider familiar brands include exciting switch and wall plate options that either blend into or accent any room décor. Functionality-wise, there has been an emergence of touchless switches and an increase in compatible solutions that support several AI/Machine Learning voice control options, too.
As mentioned, there are more compelling modern designs than ever before. The folks at Legrand, for example, offer their Radiant Wave touchless switch that responds to a simple ‘wave’ hand motion. It is evident that technology drives the cool factor, but there is a clear trend for designer-friendly switches that blend into the wall and allow the eye to focus on design specifics instead of distractions. Sort of like The Frame TV from Samsung, Art mode when it’s off, TV when it’s on. These wall switches also aesthetically disappear into a room’s decor.
I talked with Phil Prestigomo, Director of Industrial Designer and User Interfaces at Legrand, about how Legrand goes about the design process when they develop a new series of products.