New series: the silent stars – Category 1: switches and sockets
They set the mood with a subtle aristocracy though if you look closely, the room is definitively influenced by door handles, window handles, skirting boards, switches and sockets. We tell you how to select precisely the right accent for your home from a sea of subtle multiplicity.
There are few interior design features that we touch as frequently as the light switch: when we get up in the middle of the night, go to the bathroom… well, you know. But do we pay as much attention to them as we do in selecting a sofa or kitchen surfaces that we use much less often? That’s the way it is: small things have a more difficult time getting noticed and being taken seriously. Within that category, light switches and their closest relatives, sockets, are formative elements of interior design. The range of products is immense, making an accurate selection all the more important. And as always, it comes down to shape, material and colour.
The shape: here, the gently rounded corners of the 80s and 90s are rare while a sharp edge was very popular in the clear use of shapes in contemporary architecture. Still, the next trend is starting to show – rounding with a significantly larger radius like in the „R.1“ series by Berker as a throwback to the 70s.
The material: are light switches always made of plastic? Those days are over! Surfaces are available in metal, wood and glass and yes, even slate, leather and concrete. It’s a big win! That way, everyone can test which material they like touching the most and what best harmonises with a potentially extravagant wall design.
The colour: things haven’t yet reached the point where you can take a colour sample to the manufacturer to order your own personally-coloured light switch, at least not least not as a single customer. Then again, there’s really no need for it: our photos show the wide range of colours available for your selection.
There is something worth remembering when it comes to design: obviously, its technology also has to work! When the GIRA 1966 surface switch went on the market, it was a real innovation. Not to mention an upgrade in comfort and mobility. Because unlike the common flip and rotary switches that came before it, it allowed for hands-free activation with the help of an elbow.
We now find ourselves in the next wave of innovation: the conversion to a so-called intelligent switch. These contain control units which take up minimal space and can be programmed for a variety of purposes. When it comes to design, this new technology also has its advantages. Because instead of a large ledge with three or more switches like conventional technology for spacious rooms and versatile illumination, everything is self-contained in a small keypad.