Studio Seven: smart shading

By Kate Burnett
February 21, 2018

Smart blinds are a revolution for windows – not only is the physical side of blind control simpler, but automation has further advantages in terms of managing heat and saving energy, and they’re safer too. We’ve chosen seven innovative examples to brighten your projects.

By Rebecca Hoh-Hale
February 2018

Luxaflex Luxaflex’s new PowerView™ wireless technology lets users control all their blinds from a smartphone or tablet or the PowerView™  Pebble™ Remote. Users can customise the ideal combination of light, privacy, and warmth while also optimising energy efficiency and adding to their home’s security. Available in seven colours, Pebble™ can be wall-mounted and operates up to six different groups of blinds, either individually or together. The Pebble™ Scene Controller allows users to pick combinations of blinds and positions called ‘scenes’.  Powered by batteries or a DC power supply plugged into a nearby outlet, it can be integrated in new builds or retrofitted with minimal disturbance.

Gira German company Gira is one of the world leaders in intelligent system solutions for building management and one of the most influential players in the automation of domestic life. The System 3000 is a streamlined, easy-to-use digital blind control panel. Its memory-operating top unit can be programmed with the desired time to raise and lower the blinds. Users can set the timer to repeat the action at the same moment every day or customise blind positions for chosen days and times. The Astro Function allows the system to automatically adapt to changes in sun position and light phase and move with the changing seasons.

Style Studio Style Studio’s remote-control roller blind system, Powershade, is ideal for a home automation project on a smaller budget. Powershade is a one- or five-channel remote, so multiple blinds can be grouped to operate together. The system is available in over 460 fabrics from Style Studio’s roller, Roman, and Mirage blinds collections. It is also compatible with the Senses roller blind system, which includes adjustable rise speed along with the option of co-ordinated fascias in six colourways. According to the Style Studio team’s predictions, manually closing and opening blinds will be outdated within three years, just like adjusting your TV set to change channels.

QMotion QMotion is a market leader in blinds for commercial and residential projects. Alongside its many decorative and functional products, it also offers its own operating systems to provide a more stable and reliable solution, even when operated remotely. Its QiS system launched in 2017 and uses ZigBee technology, a communications protocol that is easy to control over wireless networks. Its technology has also been developed to use a patented counter-balance system that reduces the need for motors, making it a particularly quiet solution. QMotion products have a particularly slim profile that also aims to give maximum coverage, reducing the ‘side light gaps’ to 13mm.

Grand Design Blinds Grand Design Blinds combine a technological approach with  flexible and bespoke solutions for challenging shapes like giant bi-fold doors, and asymmetric windows. Together with Softroom Architects they created all blinds for the arched windows at the London and Paris Eurostar lounges. In terms of intelligent automation, they offer battery-powered, completely wireless sunlight-sensor blinds which open and close once light levels or temperature reach a certain point. With the Sunis and Thermo integrated sensors, which detect light and heat, Grand Design Blinds use technology by French company Somfy. All blinds are all handmade to order in the UK.

Crestron Interior technology specialist Crestron has introduced its first collection of luxury motorised curtain tracks and shades, with a wide range of Crestron-exclusive Hartmann & Forbes fabric options. Users can pre-set schedules to open or close the blinds and control them remotely from a smartphone. To prevent a robotic, clunky sound, Crestron developed the exclusive Quiet Motor Technology™, for a silent, brushless operation. It also improves longevity, as worn out brushes often cause motors failure. New horizontal light-filtering sheer blind designs have been added to the compatible lines, alongside Pantone colour matching which is now available for the roller shade lines.

Silent Gliss Swiss manufacturer Silent Gliss offers a choice of electric track systems (5300, 5800 – and 5600 which claims to be completely silent) to complement its wide range of window shades and blinds. As well as offering different speeds and technology specifications, the systems can be remotely operated, either using remote controls or the Silent Gliss ‘Move’ app.