Surviving in a competitive market and striking the right balance between continuity and change can be a real challenge for companies – but having been a successful market player for over one hundred years, it’s something that Gira has mastered. Our name is synonymous with systematic modern building technology that makes home living more convenient, more secure and more energy-efficient. This reputation is how our two-man start-up dating back to 1905 has managed to become the global company of over 1200 employees that it is today. This is our journey of innovation – and the milestones we’ve reached along the way.
The history of our company starts in Wichlinghausen, near Wuppertal in Germany. In the early 20th century, Richard Giersiepen redeveloped the tumbler switch – which was a popular design at the time – and filed a patent for his new product. Two years later, together with his brother Gustav, Richard founded the company “Gebrüder Giersiepen, Fabrik von Apparaten für elektrische Beleuchtung”, the “Giersiepen Brothers’ Factory for Electrical Lighting Equipment”. In 1964, the company was renamed Gira and is now headed up by the fourth generation of the family.
In the mid-1950s, Gira made an impression on consumers with its alternating current tumbler switch which – according to adverts published at the time – was as “silent as a glider”. The company proclaimed itself as the first to sell this kind of “water-protected flush-mounted equipment”. This development meant that switches and socket outlets could now also be installed in areas of the home that could get damp, such as cellars.
The modular system is something that we take for granted today – but at its market launch in 1960, it was revolutionary. This modular system was the basis for Gira’s late-1990s platform solution, the Gira System 55. Today, it encompasses around 300 functions, including a wall radio, in a wide range of freely configurable designs.
Thanks to the modular system, customers can put together their own switch solutions based entirely on their own needs and interior style. They can even use Gira’s online design configurator to customise their own system without leaving their home.
In stark contrast to the restrained and sophisticated design that was popular in the 1970s, the next decade saw Gira expand its portfolio to include some bold new models – because people were crazy about colour. Architects wanted switches and socket outlets that matched the bright colours of Hewi’s plastic door handles. Gira understood this need and responded with the S-Color design line. The creation wasn’t just a resounding sales success; it was also awarded several design prizes.
Gira does much more than just make switches: Since the early 1990s, the company has also been a pioneering force in the world of building technology digitalisation. Gira is one of the founding members of the EIB and KNX Association, which was established to ensure compatibility between technologies made by different manufacturers in different factories. The first version of the Gira HomeServer, which was unveiled around the turn of the millennium, intelligently networks individual components and is designed for intuitive operation. From blinds and lighting to heating technology, this product prepared homes for the Smart Home technologies that would come to the fore over the next few decades.
Fifteen years later, Gira took another major step forwards in connected building technology. The award-winning Gira G1 was designed to control an entire home, from the lighting system to door communication; the iconic design is intuitive and simple to operate.