Dodgy design that looks good

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
click to enlarge
Above is a floor plan light switch by Taewon Hwang of Yanko Design. Yanko's slogan is "Form Beyond Function" and that certainly seems to be the case with this light switch design. It is elegant looking, but it strikes me as being extremely impractical.

Each switch would need to be custom made for the floor plan, wiring the switches would likely be a pain in the neck, it would probably have to be back lit so you could see which sets of lights you were turning on when you entered a dark room, and using it would allow you to turn on lights in other rooms, which seems a rather pointless feature.

One of the basic principals of user interface design is not to redesign well understood controls without a good reason. I'm not sure I see a good reason, aside of aesthetics, for the design. I suppose it might, depending on its price, be of some interest for in hotel rooms where what switch controls what light is always baffling,  or in upscale tract housing since that might offer enough units to make it affordable.

Still, it seems like it is placing looks over functionality, which I don't thinks is a good design strategy for something as utilitarian as a switch. Would you buy one of these things?
 
 

3 comments:

Knucklehead said...

"One of the basic principals of user interface design is not to redesign well understood controls without a good reason."

Boy, there's a basic UI design principal that has completely escaped the Microsoft Office people!

ambisinistral said...

Heh. It's always amazing how often that simple rule is ignored.

Ben C said...

I could see this being sold as a neat feature to place in each condo unit or apartment in a larger building or complex that has many similar floor plans.

Would be kinda neat to have in the entry to be able to light up the whole place when you came home.