Functional design has become an important part of refits as owners give their late-model interiors contemporary makeovers. Just as in the latest smart homes, light switches and cover plates have become more than just single-function, utilitarian components of a boat’s lighting system. The options include dimmers and USB, HDMI, RCA and other data ports, not to mention accessorizing the cabin with high-end materials that transform previously drab switch plates into fashion statements.
Vimar has been leading the development of light-switching systems since it started in 1945. The Italian company still designs and manufactures its products at its Marostica headquarters, though it now has a global presence. In the marine lighting sector, its three collections, Eikon, Arké and Idea, have become the go-to names among U.S. boatbuilders and refit yards. Eikon in particular has become a favorite of yacht builders who want to differentiate their cabins by the details. Do-it-yourselfers also like Vimar’s simplicity and modular design, as well as the fact that there are hundreds of options (switches, dimmers, outlets, USB ports, etc.) in each collection.
“Many owners appreciate having so many great choices as they refit their boats’ interiors,” says Colby Chevalier, lighting sales manager at IMTRA, the company that oversees Vimar’s switching lines in the U.S. “Lately they’ve been gravitating toward the huge range of design possibilities of the Eikon collection. They can upgrade the interior with any look they want, and the install is very straightforward because the components are modular and interchangeable.”
Owners often can add Vimar switches to an existing footprint, first installing the mounting frame and then adding the modular switches, buttons and cover plates of their choice. Components within each collection are interchangeable, so owners can mix and match switches and cover plates for a custom look. The Eikon collection, for instance, offers hundreds of combinations of materials and colors.
There are 30 Eikon cover-plate materials, ranging from metallic finishes like titanium and aluminum, to carved stones like Carrara marble and gray quartzite, to woods like walnut, African Wenge and white oak. There are even leather and crystal options. The switches are also illuminable by adding Vimar’s red, blue, green, white and amber LED bulbs. “Eikon EVO has caught the eye of designers with its ultraslim profile,” says Chevalier, “while Eikon Chrome continues to garner interest with its more compact size and chrome inner trim. The Eikon Total Look is completely color-coordinated with its devices for a clean appearance. Having so many choices in the materials makes it easy to customize any interior.”
Vimar also offers greater detailing with laser-etching technology. Any name, logo, trademark or icon can be added to the cover plates or certain devices. “We work closely with our customers to find out which series is more applicable to their boats,” says Chevalier. “We provide technical and design advice along the way to guide this process.” Chevalier says that USB ports are currently selling “off the shelf” as owners refit older boats. “Many owners decide to replace a traditional household socket with a USB or other media outlet,” he says. “We’re even seeing lots of USBs installed in drawers to keep the smartphones and tablets out of sight while they’re charging.”
The Idea collection, possibly familiar to many over the years, is a favorite of many U.S. boatbuilders who continue to use Vimar to dress up new boats. The Arké collection is Vimar’s latest value line, with the same quality construction as the other two series. “There have never been so many great choices for doing a refit on lighting and switching systems,” says Chevalier. “Vimar offers the full gamut, from high-end custom materials to complete and affordable systems, with a simple way to install.”
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