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Timber is a timeless, natural material but it’s one that isn’t commonly used in conjunction with electrical devices in the home. A new range developed by PDL by Schneider Electric is about to change that with timber-rimmed switch and socket skins called PDL Iconic® Essence.

Timber is a timeless, natural material but it’s one that isn’t commonly used in conjunction with electrical devices in the home. A new range developed by PDL by Schneider Electric is about to change that with timber-rimmed switch and socket skins called PDL Iconic® Essence.

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Timber is arguably the most common material used in residential construction and interiors. It’s a timeless material that has been used across the centuries for all aspects of construction and decor. However, one area where timber has been noticeably absent is in electrical applications such as light switches.

 

PDL by Schneider Electric is about to change that with the introduction this month of the Iconic® Essence range of switch and socket skins - a range decidedly different in both aesthetics and materiality. “Our Essence range of skins are designed exclusively for PDL Iconic®,” PDL’s Vanessa Willats says.

 

“The main reason timber hasn’t been used in these types of applications before is because it can be a difficult material to fabricate for use in electrical accessories. Our patented fabrication process uses a mix of handcrafted and high-tech processes including mortice and tenon joins in the corners, which are necessary to ensure sufficient strength and long life in environments like bathrooms where the temperature and humidity can change so rapidly.”

 

Birch was selected as the timber of choice for its neutral colouring and obvious growth rings that have a clear and beautiful texture. “Birch has a fine structure with high mechanical strength and elasticity - characteristics that are important for applications within the home. The timber we used is FSC certified, which means it is sourced from sustainably managed plantation forests. 

Timber is arguably the most common material used in residential construction and interiors. It’s a timeless material that has been used across the centuries for all aspects of construction and decor. However, one area where timber has been noticeably absent is in electrical applications such as light switches.

 

PDL by Schneider Electric is about to change that with the introduction this month of the Iconic® Essence range of switch and socket skins - a range decidedly different in both aesthetics and materiality. “Our Essence range of skins are designed exclusively for PDL Iconic®,” PDL’s Vanessa Willats says.

 

“The main reason timber hasn’t been used in these types of applications before is because it can be a difficult material to fabricate for use in electrical accessories. Our patented fabrication process uses a mix of handcrafted and high-tech processes including mortice and tenon joins in the corners, which are necessary to ensure sufficient strength and long life in environments like bathrooms where the temperature and humidity can change so rapidly.”

 

Birch was selected as the timber of choice for its neutral colouring and obvious growth rings that have a clear and beautiful texture. “Birch has a fine structure with high mechanical strength and elasticity - characteristics that are important for applications within the home. The timber we used is FSC certified, which means it is sourced from sustainably managed plantation forests. 

"Because these products are designed specifically for the home, they are exposed to all members of the family,” Vanessa says. As a result, the Essence range of skins complies with the same standards as children’s toys. 

 

“A key benefit of Essence is that there’s nothing else like it on the market. Its unique design stands out from the crowd. There simply hasn’t been a design like this before combining the natural beauty of real timber trim with a subtle, comfortable and elegant shape,” Vanessa says.

 

Durability was a central factor in the design process, especially because the Essence range is intended for use in some of the harshest environments in the home - the kitchen and bathroom.

The Essence range of skins are a blend of Birch and plastic; plastic which Vanessa says is required in combination with the timber to ensure the product’s ultimate durability over time.

 

“The timber is treated (similar to children’s toys and furniture) to provide durability and long life plus it receives added protection from a clear coating of a water based lacquer. The bathroom, for example, experiences the most rapid temperature and humidity changes that will cause stress to any design. 

 

"Because these products are designed specifically for the home, they are exposed to all members of the family,” Vanessa says. As a result, the Essence range of skins complies with the same standards as children’s toys. 

 

“A key benefit of Essence is that there’s nothing else like it on the market. Its unique design stands out from the crowd. There simply hasn’t been a design like this before combining the natural beauty of real timber trim with a subtle, comfortable and elegant shape,” Vanessa says.

 

Durability was a central factor in the design process, especially because the Essence range is intended for use in some of the harshest environments in the home - the kitchen and bathroom.

The Essence range of skins are a blend of Birch and plastic; plastic which Vanessa says is required in combination with the timber to ensure the product’s ultimate durability over time.

 

“The timber is treated (similar to children’s toys and furniture) to provide durability and long life plus it receives added protection from a clear coating of a water based lacquer. The bathroom, for example, experiences the most rapid temperature and humidity changes that will cause stress to any design. 

 

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“For this reason, the timber is decorative and is not located in a structural location that would affect performance. We use plastic in the structural and high-wearing areas that experience repetitive use every day”.

 

The Essence range is available in two colours - Ash Grey and Arctic White. “Essence is part of the Iconic range, so the skins are compatible with any Iconic power outlet or light switch grid.”

 

The other unique benefit of the Essence range is the ability for clients to safely change skins themselves, without the need to engage an electrician. Existing skins can simply be removed and replaced with a new one to upgrade or match the design intentions of a room. Iconic won the 2017 Gold Design Award for its future-proofing with simple smart home connectivity options, including Bluetooth connectivity and USB charging options. 

 

Essence will be available in New Zealand in September 2019. Make sure you visit PDL on ArchiPro here to peruse the latest in timber light switch fittings. 

“For this reason, the timber is decorative and is not located in a structural location that would affect performance. We use plastic in the structural and high-wearing areas that experience repetitive use every day”.

 

The Essence range is available in two colours - Ash Grey and Arctic White. “Essence is part of the Iconic range, so the skins are compatible with any Iconic power outlet or light switch grid.”

 

The other unique benefit of the Essence range is the ability for clients to safely change skins themselves, without the need to engage an electrician. Existing skins can simply be removed and replaced with a new one to upgrade or match the design intentions of a room. Iconic won the 2017 Gold Design Award for its future-proofing with simple smart home connectivity options, including Bluetooth connectivity and USB charging options. 

 

Essence will be available in New Zealand in September 2019. Make sure you visit PDL on ArchiPro here to peruse the latest in timber light switch fittings. 

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