The art of the retrofit is a delicate process. Many affluent residences built without technology in mind are typically ill-equipped for the infrastructure needed to fully convert to a smart home. And once the team at Henan Basa Intelligent Technology saw the three-story villa in Zhengzhou, China, they noted all the typical symptoms. But their biggest obstacle wasn’t the absence of planning, it was the Phoebe Zhennan wood paneling the walls.

Frequently deemed one of the most prestigious designer woods, Phoebe Zhennan was so valuable that only royal families from the Six Dynasty era could afford it. Today, it is a protected species of tree in China, making any deviations and mistakes from the integrator a permanent one.

“Basalte made their life easier.”

—Henan Basa Intelligent Technology

Keen on new technologies, the client wanted an intelligent home automation system that required minimal buttons. Working with renowned designer Lv Yongzhong, the home was outfitted with a handful of Basalte switches as they allowed a truly customized experience for the client.

“For the choice of material, health was primarily important,” said Henan Basa Intelligent Technology. “All kinds of decorative panels with unqualified production process and paint are the biggest pollution sources of indoor space. The Chinese houses have been particularly fond of wood walls since ancient times, and for our client particularly, they choose a precious Phoebe Zhennan. Because of the preciousness, too many switches being installed on the walls would destroy its texture and interior design. All Basalte’s switches are made of high-grade materials, and their fer forgé design suits the wood perfectly.”

When the client met with the integration team, they had three goals in mind. Lighting, curtain, and temperature control for each room without cluttering the walls. Basalte was able to offer those functions, anchored by multi-touch switches. HVAC is controlled by each switch, setting a room to a pre-programmed temperature using their integrated temperature sensor and thermostat logic. Curtains were also controlled in conjunction with the lights to create scenes on the fly. Both were set to toggle the amount of light in a specific room depending on the time of day and if it was being occupied.

What made Basalte switches a natural choice for the client and the designer was the ability to be outfitted with any material without losing functionality. The touch sensitive switches offer a multi-touch functionality and scene setting capabilities. And because the client wanted minimalistic points of control in each room but also needed to preserve the beauty of the wood, a multi-functional device like Basalte’s was chosen.

The project ended up taking three years to complete, but Henan Basa Intelligent Technology says that the client was pleased with the final results.

“After the completion of the project, the client was very satisfied with the effect of the Basalte switch on the wooden wall and very satisfied with the easy way of controlling all functions they need. The automatic controls of the motion sensor met their living habits,” the team remarked. “Basalte made their life easier.”