The keyboard that used to be a tree

We’ve all seen those statement desks haven’t we? The ones made out of half a forest of solid exotic wood like ebony or elm. They’re usually the preserve of CEOs or Mafia bosses in the movies.

But what about the computer equipment you would place on top of such a piece of furniture – they’re all made out of some form of metal and plastic right?

Well, not anymore. One very chic French company is now offering a keyboard made out of solid wood.

Orée, based in the South of France, creates custom-made keyboards made entirely from a solid piece of either maple or walnut.

The innovative company was born after founders decided that “modern technology products look very much alike, are highly impersonal, made out of eco-unfriendly materials and are designed for rapid obsolescence”.

So, if gleaming white plastic or brushed aluminium aren’t your thing, then polished hardwood just might be.

Orée says it set out to do something different with “the most natural, durable and renewable material on earth,” combining the traditional with the novel.

And it would appear that entrepreneur Julien Salanave, who heads up Orée has certainly met his objective.

Each keyboard is polished, oil-finished and assembled by hand. But not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it is also functional – it works with any PC equipped with Bluetooth, smartphone or tablet.

Due to be shown at London Design Festival, which takes place until September 23 at venues across the Capital, the Orée Board has already won applause from critics.

The Perclers Trend Agency, whose slogan is “fashioning the future”, says: “The Orée Board heralds a return to essentials with its natural, soft, sensual touch. An object balancing ancient techniques and 21st century functionalities for a universal aesthetics: minimal, simplified, essential.”

And technology website CNET described the gizmo as “a wireless wooden wonder”.

High praise indeed but the Orée Board will obviously set you back more than a regular keyboard.

While one of Apple’s wireless keyboards, for example, costs around $90, you’ll pay $125 for Orée’s maple or walnut versions.

You can, however, customize your board in a way you wouldn’t be able to with most keyboards. You can opt for UK or US QWERTY keys or Canada French or English layouts. You also have options about whether you’d prefer Mac or Windows and you can choose between three different fonts for your key inscriptions.

All that customization doesn’t come cheap though so if you’re now set on the idea of a wooden keyboard but want something a little more wallet-friendly, you could try Brando’s bamboo keyboard and mouse, which costs $89.

The whole thing is made entirely of bamboo, with the exception of the scroll wheel of the mouse. The keyboard is the standard 108-key US-QWERTY with the symbols, letters and numbers etched directly into the wood.

One thing’s for certain. If we do opt for one of these beautiful wooden keyboards, we certainly won’t be drinking our tea and eating biscuits while we type. We couldn’t bear the thought of all those crumbs between the keys.

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