Modern product design: Smart technology combined with elegant aesthetics
G-Pulse: You’re a product designer at Gira. Tell us a little more – what’s your job about?
Gediger: When people think about design, the first thing that springs to mind is usually the aesthetic of a product. This is, of course, always an important part of our work as designers. But alongside aesthetics, we also have to think about the technical and financial feasibility of what we’re designing. A beautiful object is not much use if its beauty isn’t matched by its function. We also have to make sure that the product is affordable for the relevant target market if we want it to be a success. In every development process, our aim is to create a product that is visually appealing with a design that strikes the right balance between all of these other factors we have to consider.
G-Pulse: You were recently involved in the development of the Gira System 106. What was unique about this development process?
Gediger: Yes, I was involved in the development of the Gira System 106. I was part of an interdisciplinary Gira team working on the design of the product and the overall range. However, I wasn’t actually involved in the development of the Gira System 106 as a designer. The Gira System 106 was designed by Tesseraux + Partner – unfortunately, I can’t take any of the credit for it. We fell in love with the concept and design at a very early stage, and we knew it was going to be a success. It’s fantastic when you see a vision turning into a real-life product before your eyes.
G-Pulse: How did this product come to life? Did it all stem from one initial idea?
Gediger: The initial idea was to create a high-quality, flexible and modular door communication system for outdoor use – that was our aim from the very beginning. From there, we went on to look at exactly how we could develop such a product.
G-Pulse: How does the Gira System 106 differ from its predecessor, and what benefits does it offer?
Gediger: There isn’t really a predecessor model as such. We’ve carved out a new space for the product in our portfolio; the Gira System 106 has a host of new features and a whole new design. It’s a major addition to our range. The system is suitable for surface-mounted installation, which is a huge advantage. Surface-mounted installation is quicker and easier and does not affect the building insulation in any way. The product is designed to last, with high-quality materials such as stainless steel, aluminium, glass and die-cast zinc. The customer can also expand the system by adding new functions at any time after installation. And if the user decides to change their front door or redecorate their porch, the system’s design casing can be replaced to match – without needing to spend money on replacing the fully functional electronics inside.
G-Pulse: For which customers is the Gira System 106 especially suitable?
Gediger: The system is suitable for virtually any customer looking to mount a door communication system, from a family in a single detached house to a landlord of an apartment building with up to 17 separate homes. The modular design of the Gira System 106 means that it can be used to create a flexible solution for almost all homes.
G-Pulse: What’s your take on the Smart Home trend?
Gediger: Gira was part of the group of Smart Home pioneers – together with fellow market-leading electrical technology companies Berker, Jung, Merten and Siemens – who established the world standard KNX as part of EIBA, the European Installation Bus Association, back in 1990. This step laid the foundations for the Smart Homes we live in today. Back then, there was no concept of a Smart Home; people talked about home and building automation, although the principles behind both concepts are the same. Initially, the idea was relevant only to a small target audience of technology enthusiasts. But in recent years, the Smart Home has broken out of this niche and become a mass-market concept. People have increasingly become aware of the existence and possibilities of Smart Home technology, in part due to the rise in the use of smart phones and the ever-expanding capabilities of the devices that are permanently attached to our palms. These developments have turned the market on its head; the Smart Home technology sector is driving innovation and new competitors are adding themselves into the mix all the time. As a manufacturer, we’re incredibly pleased to see growing interest in Smart Home technology; this increased demand opens up new opportunities for us.
The design of the Gira System 106
G-Pulse: Sustainability is a top priority for Gira. How does sustainability shape what you do in product development, and how did it factor into the development process for the System 106?
Gediger: One aspect that was really important to us during the design process was ensuring that the module covers were interchangeable. This is a major selling point for our customers. If a cover gets vandalised, it can be swapped for a new one without needing to replace the module containing the electronics. This approach saves money and reduces waste, as the fully functional parts of the module can be retained rather than being disposed of unnecessarily.
G-Pulse: How do you feel when you see your products on people’s doors?
Gediger: It’s always a great feeling when you see something you’ve been involved in, in place and in use in a customer’s home.
It also makes me happy when a mass-produced product matches the technological and aesthetic vision we had when we originally embarked on the product development journey. When we launch a product like this, it’s great to see it transform from a concept or a project into a real-life product, in use and bringing real, tangible benefits to people's lives. Out of all of the positive aspects of the development process, this final stage is ultimately what it’s all about.
G-Pulse: What’s the next project on the agenda for you?
Gediger: We’re always busy working on multiple ideas at the same time. Some of these designs have almost reached a stage where we’re ready to send them out into the world, and I’ve got a feeling that our customers will like them. I don’t want to reveal everything, so that’s all I’ve got to say on the matter for now.
G-Pulse: We’re looking forward to what’s coming next – thank you for the conversation!
How do you feel about the Gira System 106? Are you impressed by its design and functionality? Tell us what you think in the comments!