Frank Lloyd Wright – The Handle is the Handshake

While some architects work exclusively on designing the built environment, the spaces we inhabit, Frank Lloyd Wright chose to design furniture, textiles and even household objects for his projects. In the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, SOSS looks at hardware as something integral to design. Wright stated “Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” He didn’t follow the tenants of form follows function where things become more about utility than beauty. He felt that the details were where the two could meet.

The humble door handle is the first part of a building you touch. It is your introduction to the building – a handshake, so to speak. In this sense, the door handle may be the most important part of a building. Is your first touch cold? Is it awkward and hard to grasp? Or, is it so simple that it is as though the door handle has been designed just for you? Is the round or oval doorknob, the most popular design, the best design?  Through mass production and economy, we have become accustomed to a knob that you have to turn, often quite far. You need a hand completely free to grasp the knob; carrying groceries oftentimes becomes a game of balance.

SOSS took a look at how we use handles and designed one that is functional and beautiful. While it has a larger presence on the door slab, it enables the user to easily open or close the door. A simple lever moves just enough to undo the latch without a large wrist movement.  You can easily open or close the door with your elbow if your hands are full.

At first glance, the size of the Ultralatch seems extravagant, but if you take a look at the design from usability point of view, you find that it caters to an underserved population of people – the elderly, injured, differently abled, and those of us who choose to carry all of the grocery bags in from the car on the first trip. With all of that in mind, the handle becomes welcoming and the movement to enter the space fluid.