In making objects by hand we indulge ourselves in the tactility and imperfections. Under the guidance of Dominika we as an office have been learning how to design and cast bespoke door handles using the lost wax method.
As a practice, the lost wax method is an ancient method of casting metal dating back to some time in the fourth millennium BC. Its invention gave way to a multitude of functional applications are well as made industries in craft and art possible. Revisiting this technique reminds us of some of the fundamental ways that we have gone about making objects and adorning space.
French designer and architect Alvar Alto described the door handle ‘as the building's "handshake" and in this vein, ‘was not to be overlooked’. Leading on from this philosophy, he designed a range of bespoke door handles, most notably ones for the National Pensions Institute in Helsinki which he subsequently went on to use on other projects given its popularity.
Throughout architectural history, there’s a long history in architecture of architects designing and fabricating domestic elements such as door handles, handrails, chairs and tiles. As a practice with an avid love for craft, we were keen to follow this precedent of architects branching out into other disciplines of making and elements of interior space.
Aside from Alto, architects such as Juhani Pallasmaa, Carlo Scarpa and Zaha Hadid have all made their idea of a great door handle.
In making door handles, we’re prompted to think about how we enter buildings and what an entrance says about what lies beyond it. Is the entrance inviting and cordial, or is there an element of inaccessibility or exclusivity?
In making the door handles we discussed the intended spaces for which we are making the door handles, using it as a primary driver for the form, texture and feel of our design.
In our perception of space, we are always sub subconsciously reading these elements encoded with information. As suggested by Alto, it’s even the little things like a door handle that say a lot about the intention set for the rest of the space and how we might feel within it.