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Crestron Keypads, Luhkee Faceplates: Elegant Collaborations
Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Crestron Keypads, Luhkee Faceplates: Elegant Collaborations

A partnership between Crestron and a Belgian firm called Luhkee is creating a new line of unique, beautiful keypad solutions for the home

March 12, 2024 - When the Crestron team attends a trade show, they’re doing more than exhibiting the latest offerings from the company — they’re also looking. And not just sizing up the competition, either: They’re keeping an eye out for potential partnerships. The company’s known for finding best-in-class third-party solutions that can be integrated into residential solutions. It’s all about providing Crestron dealers with the broadest possible range of options for clients and designers to choose from.

This was true at the 2022 ISE® trade show — and Crestron’s residential crew found a manufacturer that was ready to partner with the company in a truly unique way.

Luhkee (stylized as “[ luhk-ee ]”) is a Belgian firm that’s a true family business. Brothers Staf and Toon Van Lierde and their father Jan are creating lines of hardware for home, marine, and hospitality that include faceplates, receptacles, and more — all informed by a unique and elegant aesthetic derived from Jan’s decades of experience in the field of architecture.

Less “Stuff” on the Wall

“I always saw lighting and its hardware as a true building component,” says Jan. He was especially fascinated by the manner in which the smartphone took a variety of portable objects — from communications device to music player to, well, everything else — and combined it all into a single object. “We faced a similar issue with all the technology that required some kind of control or receptacle on the walls of a home,” he says. “As more solutions were added, the wall became a bit of a mess.”

Jan’s striving for simplicity within an overall aesthetic aligned with Crestron’s philosophy — something that brothers Staf and Toon immediately understood. “Our goal is to harmonize the dimensions, style, and finish of an installation,” notes Staf. When conversations between the two firms began, the Van Lierdes knew they had found a true partner. “It was really refreshing to see that Crestron, while being a large company, is very accommodating and open to new ideas,” says Staf.

Luhkee primarily focuses on creating the most elegant wall plates they can conjure, not building an entire keypad. The team at Crestron was open to this approach: The demand for Crestron's first-party keypads is huge, so why not have a true collaboration to support designer finishes on keypads that Crestron doesn’t provide a vast range for?  

Introducing the Cameo C2NI [CL] Faceplate Range from Crestron and Luhkee

[CL] Fine Series: The [CL] Fine Series features thin rectangular buttons with rounded edges, allowing for customization with up to 12 buttons*. With 4,065 possible configurations, integrators can design a solution tailored to their specific needs. The status LEDs next to the buttons add both style and functionality to any environment.

[CL] Clear Series: For those seeking a sleek and minimalist design, the [CL] Clear Series offers square buttons with icons milled with a precision of 0.3mm. These icons are then filled with resin to ensure long-lasting clarity. Once connected to the Crestron system, the engraved icons are backlit, creating an elegant and intuitive user experience.

[CL] Door Unit: The [CL] Door Unit, available in square or round buttons, presents a hospitality-oriented solution. By rotating the Cameo® faceplate 90 degrees, the door unit utilizes backlighting for the room number on top, while the bottom part features one bell button and two LED openings for "Do Not Disturb" and "Make Up Room" functions.

The Cameo® Keypad — With Luhkee Faceplates

That collaboration resulted in the synthesis of Crestron Cameo® keypads with Luhkee faceplates. The brothers gave the specs to their dad, and Jan produced two faceplate types. “One style utilizes a look we’re known for,” says Staf. It’s a plate whose buttons feature Luhkee’s already recognizable backlit icons. “The second type holds slim rectangular buttons with gentle, rounded edges,” he adds. “This enables configurations with all the functions that the Cameo keypad offers.”

These creations took a while, says Toon: “The Cameo keypads were easy to work with, but we took our time to ensure that all of the details and tolerances were perfect.” The Luhkee team was especially fond of the square Cameo keypad form factor. “For us, proportions matter a lot,” Says Staf. “Our standard 10 by 10-centimeter canvas lends itself to work with negative space to accentuate both the button and the faceplate itself. We want our design to lend itself to both minimalist and maximalist interiors.

“With our balanced proportions, a keypad can be an accent in a room, provide contrast, or blend in. By selecting the style of buttons and being able to pick from a wide variety of finishes, the look can really be customized.” And with a wide range of button options, the finished keyplates are a brilliant addition to a Crestron Home® OS solution.

Hand-Finished Faceplates

Although the company is young, the work that Luhkee is doing has all of Jan’s experience behind it. The elder Van Lierde founded a lighting company called KREON in the 1980s and succeeded in creating products that were as reliable as they were timeless. “I have people tell me they still have my lighting products in their homes 40 years after they bought them,” says Jan.

In addition to the look of a device, the younger Van Lierdes understand that the feel of a faceplate is just as important. “The products Luhkee brings to the market are all precision milled from solid brass or walnut plates,” says Staf. The team rejected metals such as aluminum — brass is a robust material that inspires confidence in the user. “Our base materials are always the best we can get,” he says.

After the metal’s milled, Luhkee’s artisans hand-finish each piece in one of seven standard finishes — another benefit of brass is that the material is more conducive to a broader range of colors and textures. Matching and custom finishes are available, too.

Luhkee Quality: At a Glance

  • Luhkee faceplates provide a unified look across an entire project, with features such as:
  • Full brass plates for a luxurious feel
  • Native Crestron keypad technology
  • Hand-finished quality
  • Included engraving
  • Matching local receptacles for USB, HDMI® connectivity, and coaxial connectivity
  • Custom configurations and finishes

The Marriage of the Cameo Mechanics to the Luhkee Look

Luhkee’s tolerances are designed to ensure that every push of a button gives the same “tactile feedback” perfected by Crestron’s engineers when they built the Cameo keypad — details such as the needed pressure and the feel of a switch engaging are all preserved when the Luhkee faceplate is layered on top of the Cameo keypad “chassis.” “Many prototypes were 3D printed before we arrived at this design,” says Staf.

 

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