The importance of aesthetics in wiring accessories

Building designers, product specifiers and installing contractors have traditionally been just as interested in the appearance of wiring accessories, as how easy they are to install and use. But recently, people have started to expect more from their wiring accessories, and for that reason they’re garnering attention like never before, writes Jim Hutchison, National Sales Manager, Crabtree.

People no longer want a typical appearance in wiring accessories. Instead, they are seeking modern, soft curves, smooth lines and slim plates. Moreover, aesthetics no longer solely exist for the purpose of looking good. Innovative, modern and often minute external details can now bring ease of use as well as safety to commercial buildings’ appearance criteria. Success in this area is vital to distinguish an accessory from others in a competitive playing field.

Smooth and slimline

Visuals like soft curves on the plate admittedly aren’t that unusual today, but having a consistent single plate depth throughout a range ought to be a necessity to win the favour of commercial specifiers. In the past, inconsistency has sometimes been brought about by the need to meet Part M regulations, but adjacent accessories that don’t match one another aren’t an attractive proposition. A matching plate depth throughout the range is undoubtedly a stylish tick in the box and a differentiator that makes sure the accessories fit naturally into any commercial environment.

This style ethos should also be carried through into Part M wiring accessories – moving beyond simply contrasting plate colours with their background; good aesthetics should make accessories easier to use. Our Instinct range has achieved this, with a matching plate depth and style across the entire range of accessories designed to meet Part M. Whilst matching aesthetics can set accessories apart from others, there are other ways that the industry can meet aesthetic desires.

Dynamic details

One such progressive aesthetic detail catching the eyes of commercial specifiers is Integrated LED indicators. Saying goodbye to the bulky red neon indicators that have spoiled many an appearance, our Instinct range is the first commercial wiring accessory range to incorporate LED indicators into the rocker switch or the fuse drawer.

This innovative feature creates a slick and modern appearance that maintains the overall look of the accessories. In addition, the orange on-off power indicator, which can be used in the grid switch of all applications including Part M, aids ease of use and improves visual clarity. This new feature, as well as other aesthetically polished details, is set to grace an increasing number of new commercial builds.

Colour coding and laser marking

In public installations, the variety of wiring accessories and colours that can be used are vast. in hospital applications especially, it has become more important than ever to distinguish a socket’s use through its appearance. Here, appearance has become important for reasons other than customer acceptance, instead providing additional safety.

For example, in the Instinct range, we offer specifiers and contractors a wide range of colours for differing hospital power uses. Sockets that are bright blue are reserved for “medical equipment only” whereas those that have green switches are reserved for cleaning apparatus. Making this visual distinction helps to ensure important hospital machinery, responsible for patient care, isn’t mistakenly unplugged by those using the building.

On top of this, laser printed marking also exists to ensure a crisp, clear circuit identity, that won’t smudge or rub away after use. Each power use can be labelled clearly, whether it’s for general use, a vending machine or important piece of hospital apparatus. By combining laser marking with colour coding, specifiers can make sure that accessories meet NHS Estates HTM 06-01, avoid confusion and improve the safety of patients, all though appearance.

It’s clear that in our modern world, aesthetic features exist for several reasons within the commercial market. It’s become important that a range exceeds basic requirements, so it does more than just look smart. Accessories now rely on their appearance to improve safety and ease of use. However, these features aren’t the only things that matter.

Today, to bring something new to market a range must offer the whole package, including aesthetic advancement. Crabtree’s new Instinct range of wiring accessories offers this as well as quality, innovative internal benefits, quick and easy installation and extensive breadth of range; helping specifiers and contractors to choose, fit, and admire without hassle.