Brand Focus on Basalte with Klaas Arnout
Belgium-based Basalte was co-founded in 2008, when Klaas Arnout and Sandra Maes, a certified interior designer, saw a need to simplify home automation controls while also respecting the beautiful interiors to which the technology is often married.
That dual perspective has spurred Basalte on to expand its home automation control product cache while keeping to a strict and unique industrial design coda. HiddenWires speaks to Arnout, a former custom integrator and now managing director of Basalte about how the company’s vision continues to fuel the design and functionality of its custom integration channel products.
Basalt started out a few years ago with elegant light control interfaces. How has the company evolved since its inception to reflect changes in the custom integration market?
At Basalte, we take pride in developing fully integrated design products for the modern home. A key part of our company strategy is to develop user-friendly solutions in high quality materials, including our design touch-sensitive switches and elegant mounts for iPad and iPod touch. We see a rising demand in the market for that same quality in design and usability.
As a manufacturer, we also see how the home automation market is rapidly evolving towards different systems with their own focuses on how lights, shades and temperature should be controlled. The global standard for home automation, KNX, especially leads the way for larger luxury homes that require a comprehensive integration of all these technologies. Except for one thing: fully integrated, hi-fi multiroom audio. Accordingly, it is difficult to integrate third-party multiroom audio systems and control these to their full extent with your KNX controls (app, switches, room controllers, etc.). This is the main reason why we developed Asano, our high-end multiroom audio system that natively integrates in KNX.
What products currently define the Basalte brand? How do they do so?
More than having one leading product, our usability concept truly defines what we do. In every product that we make, we make sure that it shows innovative technology, looks beautiful and that it’s easy to use.
By continuously expanding our product range, step-by-step, anyone can eventually enjoy the Basalte usability and design in every aspect of their smart home.
Why do you believe Asano is such a game changer for the custom integration industry?
The Asano multiroom audio system (pictured below) has been developed from the ground up, introducing hi-fi music in a virtually unlimited number of rooms. Its decentralized topology offers an unequalled flexibility and scalability to develop the system to the needs of the project, without limitations.
Use the beautiful app or any KNX control device to stream your favourite music in any room, at any time, without any interfaces. Almost every Asano device is programmed in ETS, making the integration in a KNX installation more straightforward.
So many of your products have a strong focus on industrial design with the interior designer in mind. Have you forged design relationships with this community? How does that influence your design and product development?
Every day, we work with (interior) designers worldwide to complete beautiful projects. Additionally, we participate in international design shows. This way, we receive daily feedback on our products, we keep track of new trends and eventually include this in our product development process. A perfect example is the new range of finishes for our switches, including the sparkling rosé.
With such a diverse portfolio of products, how do you work with your global network of dealers and integrators to help them pitch Basalte to their client base?
Ever since we started, our goal was to establish long-term partnerships that are mutually beneficial. It is important to give each partner all necessary assets to perfectly introduce and install Basalte with clients. We do this by inviting them to Belgium for a commercial introduction in our concept house and a thorough technical training course. Each partner also invests in sample products to give live demonstrations in either their showroom or at the client’s home.
Additionally, our sales team can answer all types of questions and we can provide you with all needed (technical) documentation.
What future custom integration development do you think will impact Basalte product development? How so?
The rise of wearable technology will inevitably influence how people interact with their personal technology and smart home. Instead of wearables becoming an alternative, we believe that they will offer an added value to the traditional controls like switches and remote controls.