Details Matter – Saturn Zen Switches and Sockets

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

First design intent , 3D rendering

How annoying is that small pebble in your shoe? Now imagine having that pebble appear every time you wear those shoes.  That little pebble becomes a boulder when it becomes a daily annoyance.

Design inspiration from the beautiful balance of an asymmetric pebble pile

Well, in a house, light switches and sockets can be this little grain of sand on a beautiful day. Each day you encounter the only detail in your house not being in harmony.

While designing the Saturn Zen range, Schneider Electric’s Pacific Design Lab had in mind the pure and modern lines carefully created by architects in today’s modern home. The design intention was to create a switch that worked in harmony with the contemporary architecture.

Saturn Zen switches and sockets
First design intent , 3D rendering


First design intent, 3D rendering

Careful attention was paid to the details, finding ways to simplify and remove as much as we could, the non-essential lines. The result is geometric; with a little asymmetry in the way the buttons are positioned to balance the whole plate. It comes in a subtle white or black matte finish.

Saturn Zen switches and sockets
Final result

The button is designed perfectly flush to the surface of the plate, adjusted and precise, with an elegant pinhole to let the light shine through, which helps locate the switch.

However, the innovative process was not limited to the design. The project team worked hard to keep this design simple and perfect, overcoming the normal industrial constraints and processes.

See what Tunde Juhasz is saying about this project:

“As a Project Design Leader & Principal Designer for both the extraordinary flagship Saturn range and the current Saturn Zen range, I am ecstatic with the quality outcome seen to date with this range. There have been many technical obstacles to overcome, however a simple and minimalistic range has been implemented to complement today’s modern styles, with carefully crafted interface icons, pictos and a new sleek exterior to match our modern 240V wiring accessories range.”

Knobs design, detail work


Saturn Zen switches and sockets
Final result

One exciting innovation is the LED-backlit pictograms.

To anticipate some consumer concerns around having up to six switches on a plate, you need to know which light you are switching on or off. In the flow of your daily life you don’t really want to try reading a 2mm high word while searching for the right switch, especially in a dark room.

To help identify the loads, we designed 30 hand-drawn quality, simple and elegant icons to identify the loads. It helps us craft messages without the need of lengthy explanations.

Saturn Zen switches and sockets
Icon creation process

We found creative solutions to block the light, except within the icon. A nicely spread light illuminates the icons. This gave our engineers nightmares; we had to use ultra precise laser etching to remove a light-blocking layer of paint and add a robust topcoat to protect from everyday use and UV discoloration.

Saturn Zen switches and sockets
Multiple layers of paint and laser hetching process

The result is absolutely stunning; the fine line produces enough light to allow you to find your switch… without keeping you awake at night.

Saturn Zen switches and sockets
Multiple trials were necessary to achieve the best quality


Final result


A popular innovation is the introduction of the Smart Shelf.

Saturn Zen USB Charger
Smart shelf – Saturn Zen USB Charger



Final result – Smart shelf – Saturn Zen USB Charger

Smart devices have changed our everyday life; just try going without it for a day! Each night as we are recharging with sleep, we recharge our smart devices by plugging them into a socket that is nearly at the ground level. Each night we reach down to plug in the device, and each morning reach down to unplug it. So, we have created a shelf that incorporates USB chargers (also available as a twin power outlet). It is neater, avoids wires and clutter and installed just above the level of the bedside table, it is high enough to be accessible.

Once the range is fitted in a house, forget it and focus on the essential: a good life without the little annoyances.

> Find more about Saturn Zen by Clipsal

*Saturn Zen is available in Australia and New Zealand.

Good Design Award 2015




Zoom on the Schneider Electric’s Pacific Design Lab

In order to be physically and culturally close to our customers, markets and engineering centers, Schneider Electric has located five design labs throughout the world. The Pacific Design Lab based in Adelaide, Australia. Home to the Clipsal by Schneider Electric marketing and engineering teams, manages the industrial design of Schneider Electric and its associated brands for Australia and New Zealand offers.

Tags: , ,


  • I have just put a set of these zen series switches in and am thoroughly underwhelmed by the manufacturing on the backlights. The LED’s are different colours and intensities, so you have a very strange looking effect when you get a set of four switches together and they all look like a different colour. Extremely poor for what should be a top tier product given the marketing and price point

    • Hi Matt
      I will ask our quality team to contact you in order to understand what is happening.
      Best regards

      Xavier Lifran

    • Avalon Coetzer

      7 years ago

      Hi Matt can you possibly give me your contact details and location. I’m interested in replacing your products to have a technical review so we can better understand the issue you are having with LED colour difference.
      Thanks Avalon Coetzer

  • Hello, I’m trying to find out how the pictograms are put in place but cannot find anything on the Clipsal website. Please can you tell me if the switches have to be ordered with the pictograms already set up, or do you stick them on or behind the switch when they’re installed? Thank you. Jo

  • I wont buy clipsal switches of any sort ever again. We equipped our new house with cream coloured clipsal switches and within 12 months they all turned an ugly yellow colour…even the ones in dark rooms. That’s my grain of sand.

    • Hi Natalie
      We had some problems with UV resistance on some ranges, never on Saturn Zen, it is all solved now.
      The advantage of Clipsal is that you will always have a customer service to raise your concern.
      Please have a try call them:

      CONSUMER SUPPORT 1300 669 925 9:00AM TO 5:00PM (MON TO FRI) AEST)

  • Hi Xavier
    Does Clipsal have these pictogram buttons for the Saturn Zen Cbus range? I haven’t been able to locate them in the catalogue. If they do exist, could you point me towards the item number? Thanks Jon

    • HI Jon
      We do have the e-label option with EDLT in C-Bus Zen range but we do not have pictograms button, only for mechanical offer.
      Best regards

  • Do you know what would be really cool? To have a capability where consumers like me can actually design our own pictograms for the Saturn Zen switches and for a fee have them made. There are numerous pictograms not in your catalogue that would be great. Eg I have wall plates that control downlights, strip lights , pendant lights and wall lights. Having a pictogram for each would be great. Also outdoor lighting, electric blinds and many others. Can this be offered? If not, do you have a plan to expand the pictogram range? Thanks

    • Hi Mark
      This is great ideas, we do have all this icons in our library, if more people ask for it, we will be able to produce it.
      For now it would be very expensive to produce on demand, we need to improve our costs to release this service.
      I wish we can have this in the future.

    • I seconed this comment

  • Ute Lycke

    7 years ago

    Hi I have just refitted all my light switches with the ZEN series and only now realised that the ZEN series does not have any vertical power points. All my power points are next to the Switches and they are vertical. So what do I do now? Any idea?

    • Hi Ute
      We do not have enough demand of vertical sockets to add it to Saturn Zen range.
      If you can ask your electrician to turn the sockets 90 degres to an horizontal one, it would be the best solution.
      It is not always possible, then you can have a look at the Modena strato 800 series in black or white, this range will have an auto-switched vertical socket that would be the closest you can be.

      The best way to have reliable advise is to visit the showroom in NZ:

  • Hi, I just recently bought a 4 gang Saturn zen led switches. Trying to understand the Led indicator option.
    If i want the led to turn on when I push the button and led to turn on when it is not in use. My intention is to have led to light up during the night so that one can see the button. Is that possible ? The instruction show 4 led indicator options. Which one would they be ?

Comments are closed.