- The $220 light switch is popular among ultra-high net worth homeowners, according to a New York Times report.
- Light switches are part of the trend towards quieter and more luxurious.
- In comments left on the article, Times readers downplayed the Switch’s price.
When you think of quiet luxury, what comes to mind? Perhaps a logoless designer handbag or a perfectly tailored suit. But the $220 light switch probably wasn’t on your Stealth Wealth Bingo card.
As a recent New York Times article pointed out, the “invisible light switch” from British design firm Forbes & Lomax, which references designs from the 1930s, has become one of the latest status symbols among the ultra-rich.
Or David Hottenroth, a partner at the architecture firm Hottenroth & Joseph, said of The Times light switches, “They’re house jewelry.” A typical light switch that sells for just a few bucks is rarely described that way.
Many Times readers weren’t interested in the expensive Switch. The article has received over 1100 comments.
One commenter who called BKB from Buffalo, N.Y., wrote, “I showed my husband the light switch and almost fell out of my chair laughing. He said it looked just like the one he used to sell for $0.85 at a hardware store in Brooklyn when he was a kid 75 years ago.”
He wasn’t the only commenter who thought these lights looked familiar.
A commenter named Dave, of Lafayette, Colorado, added, “Forbes and Lomax light switches look exactly like salvaged WWII-era electronic test rigs. I remember moving to ‘soft-touch’ rocker-style light switches 30 years ago, which made my old 1970s chunky post switches look decidedly outdated (never mind).” “Everything old will eventually become new again.”
Another commenter from New York, called J, wrote that the switch “looks terrible (I think it’s subjective)” and “lacks even the basic features you’d expect from a middle-to-upper-middle-class home, like smart home functionality and easy dimming.”
According to the Forbes & Lomax website, the light switch doesn’t act as a dimmer by itself, but you can add a dimmer as an option along with the switch.
Quiet luxury has been on the rise in recent months, a sharp departure from the glamorous style that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In today’s volatile climate, the ultra-rich may not be facing serious financial hardships, but they still seem less inclined to flaunt their wealth.
Lorna Hall, director of fashion intelligence at trend forecasting firm WGSN, previously told Insider, “Fashion can be sluggish at times, but it’s still responsive to social trends.” She said, “At a time when most of the population is struggling to cling to or heat their homes, expressions of extreme wealth seem tone-deaf.”
Just because styles have become more subdued, with softer colors and logo-less designs, doesn’t mean wealthy shoppers have settled for cheaper products. Bottega Veneta’s woven textile bag, with its discreet logo, is a favorite of many celebrities’ arms this year. HBO’s hit show, “Succession,” which focuses on a wealthy fictional family, also sparked talk of modest status symbols, with its characters flaunting items such as a $600 cashmere baseball cap.
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