Before a small selection of consumer brands – most famously Apple, led by its late founder Steve Jobs and chief designer Sir Jonathan Ives – turned the notion completely on its head, it was once accepted wisdom that function would always trump form when consumers were faced with choosing between competing technology products.
Today, despite their transformative effect on the intersection of design and technology, manufacturers charged with mass producing consumer-facing technology could be forgiven for cursing Apple, Ives, Jobs. Why? Because the success of the company’s products – iPod, iPhone, iPad – has completely and irreversibly reshaped our expectations of technology.
Take headphones as an example. Jump on a bus or train in an international city like New York, London, Hong Kong and you’ll notice that headphones are no longer just a device for listening to music. Today, they are fashion accessories, labels, brands; available in a rainbow of different colours, complete with funky designs on the earphones.
This trend has had a transformation impact on the electrical industry too. For years, plug sockets and light switches were just an accepted compromise in a consumer’s otherwise perfect bathroom, kitchen, lounge, hotel room. The democratisation of design has paid to that cosy little compromise.
Interior designers everywhere invest a significant amount of time and energy creating a space that perfectly matches their client’s vision. A sleek and stylish minimalist space with leather finishes and eclectic furniture through to a grand, imposing function room kitted out in mahogony and brass. Every detail is obssessed over, as designers instinctively understand that the finished article is the result of a thousand small, carefully made decisions.
However as electrical manufacturers start to raise their game – offering a wide selection of customised finishes matching seasonal trends – interior designers are running out of reasons to accept that wiring accessories – plug sockets, light switches – are an inevitable eye sore to be hidden away, covered up or concealed . On the contrary, the latest innovation in fashionable, customisable plug sockets, USB charging modules and light switches presents interior designers with another big opportunity to bring their grand design to life.
As with all consumer trends, the winners will be designers that quickly mobilise and successfully ride the crest of the wave. At MK Electric, a Honeywell company, we have already embraced this trend with our Decorative Collection, offering 5000 different combinations of wiring devices matched closely with the hottest interior design trends. Bespoke designs can also be developed using MK Electric’s Design Service team, offering ID experts a full palette of designs and textures to lift a room aesthetically. As the democratisation of design marches on, your clients will expect nothing less.