Belgian High-end technology for smart luxury homes
Today we meet Klaas Arnout, CEO of design brand 'Basalte'. Basalte is a Belgian specialist in high-end technologies for smart luxury homes. Technical simplicity, pure design, intuitive and a conscious decision to design and produce everything in Belgium are key elements in their success story.
How did Basalte come into being?
"At the turn of the century, as an engineer, I was very interested in home automation systems, which were on the rise at the time. However, the systems of the time were not user-friendly and not at all stylish. As a hobby project, I started developing my own designer switch together with my wife Sandra, who is an interior designer. Ease of use, innovative technology and clean design were the core concepts of our concept from the outset. In 2008, we were ready for our next step and this was the start of Basalte."
How was the concept received in the market?
"We made several prototypes before we were satisfied. It was especially difficult to develop a switch that was easy to operate on the one hand, but also looked discreet enough to blend in completely with the interior. The first reactions were very positive. We immediately won several design awards, including the prestigious Red Dot Design Award.
We also went straight to Frankfurt for the leading Light + Building trade fair. Given the limited budget, we had a small stand somewhere at the back of the enormous exhibition hall. We had to wait and see because we ended up with a completely different product. Quite unexpectedly, we still attracted a lot of interested visitors. We had also won a design prize there and that boosted our credibility. Meanwhile, Germany has become our main market."
Why choose a smart home?
"Your home is very personal and intimate. A safe place where you can fully unwind and be yourself. An intelligent home goes a step further to help you achieve this. With a light touch of your Basalte app, remote control or switch, it is possible to dim the room to the right atmosphere. Your favourite music starts, the thermostat switches up a degree and the curtains close. All technologies are connected to each other so that, as a resident, you can easily enjoy the ultimate comfort. Everything can also be set and adjusted remotely, never again stress about forgetting something when you leave the house."
Basalte, meanwhile, has an extensive product range. Can you tell a bit more about what Basalte has to offer?
"We started with a designer switch but today we offer a total solution for your smart home. We have developed our own Basalte app that allows you to easily control all the technologies in your home, at home or remotely. Control your lights, temperature, blinds and music with just a light touch of the app, switches or remote control. We have also recently introduced our new door phone Adelante, which makes our range even more complete. Adelante is also easy to control via our intuitive app."
Where does Basalte differentiate itself from other brands in the same sector?
"In everything we do, we maintain a very clear focus; we concentrate only on the luxury segment. So design is an important aspect for us, we only work with very high-quality and exclusive materials. Our focus is also on ease of use. Usually engineers develop products with the idea that other engineers will operate them. We design every product with a focus on simplicity, ease of use combined with a minimalist design that always fits perfectly with our existing product range."
How do you provide customers with the best service?
"Our focus is very much on quality and precision. We select only the most exclusive materials and place the greatest emphasis on meticulousness. The common thread in the finishing of our products is the choice of authentic, honest materials. They emphasise the purity of the design, think nickel, bronze or aluminium. It's all possible. The combination of ultramodern technology with durable, artisanal finishing often produces stunning results. Over the years, we have built up a network of workshops that specialise in each of these materials. Uniquely, all these workshops are located in Belgium. We are therefore proud to say that all products are still 100 per cent manufactured and produced in Belgium."
Can you list some projects that bear your name tag?
"I'm not going to name names because in that world, discretion is sacred. But there are some film stars, DJs and top footballers who use our technology every day to control their lighting or climate. In the Middle East, we have already completed some complex projects. People there live with different families in gigantic palaces with communal and private areas, which does sometimes create an extra challenge. Last year, we also completed a 140-metre superyacht."