ISSUE 18  |  Berlin Bound

Switched On: Classic Light Switches

May 06, 2015 1:00 PM

BY Margot Guralnick

A pet peeve around here: thoughtfully-designed houses with mood-killing cheapo light switches. We’ve long recommended replacing plastic switch covers with inexpensive metal ones. But in the best of all worlds, what we’d really like to live with are these elegant, old-fashioned designs spotted in the offerings from German reproduction specialists Replicata.

Above: A trio of porcelain and wood Garby Collection designs: the Garby Switch, €39.50 ($44.38), Garby Push Button light switch, €21.20 ($23.82), and Garby Socket, €45.70 ($51.35).

The designs are by Spanish manufacturer Fontini and available from a number of sources, including Replicata, which has a showroom and warehouse in the German university town of Freiburg, near the border of Switzerland and France. Replicata is offshoot of Florian Langenbeck Historische Türen, specialists in antique doors, hardware, and other architectural findings, and worth a visit.

Above: Also by Fontini: Dimbler Toggle Switches of nickel-plated brushed brass with porcelain bases are €45.30 ($50.90) each at Replicata. The design comes in a range of other finishes and materials.

(Also don’t miss The World’s Most Beautiful Light Switches By Way of France.)


Above: Who knew Bakelite was still in production?  German switch specialists Berker, in business since 1919, modeled their Serie 1930 Bakelite Rotary Switch after a 1930 Bauhaus design. It’s €42 ($46.98) via Replicata, and also comes in black. 

Above: The Berker Bakelite Toggle Switch and Cover is available in black and white for €35.50 ($39.71).

We’ve been coveting classic lighting from Germany for years–see our posts on Thomas Hoof (now called THPG)–and are ever hopeful that a stateside company will come up with US-ready versions. A new notable example: Zangra’s Belgian Basics, Now Available in the US. 

For easy, affordable switch plate upgrades, see 10 Easy Pieces: Switch Plate Covers.