Design is not just about what we see in a space. It’s what we feel and hear too. The ambience of a room is created as much through visual decoration as music and beautiful lighting. It’s an entire package that works together to create an experience. I think that too often we forget that it’s the not-so-glamorous mechanicals of lighting, automation and audio/video that add a great deal to success of a design and the enjoyment of the space. Often this important design element is not given the consideration it deserves.
In new builds some sort of home automation is standard, largely depending on the budget and client’s requirements. The systems I see mostly are Control 4, RadioRA and Sonos. Lately I’m interested in Apple’s new Homekit. These systems allow us an easier lifestyle – we can create scenes, dim lighting, access our music, turn up the pool temperature, close the blinds and turn on the security system. We can simply pick up our iphone and choose any application – from anywhere in the world.
And now for the visual benefit of home automation system (besides the lighting of course) is that home automation systems reduced the need for lighting switches and dimmers everywhere. They also eliminate the need to have audio and video equipment in the same room as the TV (remember when you had to have all your components near your TV in some sort of cabinet?..and dealing with all those wires!) So for us designers we have clearer walls for artwork and we don’t have to see audio equipment anymore – and that’s a relief!