There is something sophisticated but entirely relaxed and casual about many aspects of French design. The country just does “plain” and casual so well. While many Americans interpret a casual aesthetic as sloppiness, the French seem to embrace it as minimal, modern, and seamlessly completing an ensemble. A design can be casual, yet still sophisticated: casual design can still be good design with a relaxed confidence in itself.
Case in point? The work of French accessory design studio Orée, which has just released a beautiful line of all-wood keyboards, trackpads, smartphone chargers, and cases in a beautifully unadorned, hand-carved style that proves that there can be a great deal of sophistication in the design of something plain, and a lot of confidence in a design that is casual.
First, the keyboard. Christened the Orée board, this wooden keyboard is notable for the craftsmanship with which it has been constructed. What’s so beautiful and unique about the board is that it has been carved out of a single piece of wood, meaning that the grain of every key matches the grain of the frame perfectly. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, it’s entirely wireless, too, meaning it can be paired to your PC or Mac just as well as your smartphone or iPad. It costs €150.00 (roughly $200).
Following suit, the Orée Touch Slab is a sort of Magic Trackpad for your PC or Mac. Like the Orée Board, the (let’s face it) unfortunately named Touch Slab is carved from a piece of premium maple or walnut wood. You can even overlay the Slab with a leather rollout, transforming it into a numerical keypad. It, too, costs €150, or about $200.
Finally, there is the Orée power combo: the Wireless Power Pebble and Power Sleeve. Available in wood (maple or walnut) or in marble (red or white), the Power Pebble charges through induction. If your smartphone supports Qi wireless charging, just resting it on top of the Power Pebble will be enough to juice it up.
Sadly, though, most smartphones don’t come with Qi, including the world’s most popular smartphones: Samsung’s Galaxy series or Apple’s iPhone line-up. If you have one of these smartphones, that’s where the Power Sleeves comes in. Made of leather and maple or walnut, it’s an attractive case that amps up your iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4 with Qi wireless power. The Power Pebble and Power Sleeves costs €110 ($150) and €90 ($122), respectively.
Expensive? Yes, but the aesthetic is gorgeous: something you might associate more strongly with Julia Child’s kitchen than a modern office. All that is missing is the smell of a baking baguette. You can buy Orée’s products here.