Thursday Salute to Originals: The Door Handle

The commonplace nature of the door handle has made it so expected that, even as a functional tool interacted with on a daily basis, it gets skimmed over in our minds.

Think about how many doors you opened just in your morning routine alone – you probably opened and closed a bedroom or bathroom door, locked up your front door as you departed, opened (a perhaps frosty) car door, then hastily turned the key to get into your office. We’ll bet that you don’t actively remember most of those door handles, but what if they had been made of something a bit stranger?

Artist Rene Siebum of the Netherlands sought to bring this overlooked design object back to the forefront of experimentation. Using a standard door handle purchased from a hardware store, Siebum created dozens of iterations of the handle by changing materiality – recreating the handle in anything from wire to sand to wax. A single material change, in turn, shifts the visual and tactile reading of the handle altogether.

Melted Plastic


Iron Wire

“I first looked at how our sense of touch communicates with us, I realised the basic elements for our touch sense are texture, structure, volume and temperature,” said Siebum. (source: Dezeen) The “Touch” exhibit was displayed at Dutch Design week in October.



As a team that works hands-on with materials every day, though mostly of the translucent nature, we appreciate these iterative studies on how changes in materiality alter perception. You just might find our office entry door graced with silly-string handles this week, and no it’s not an early April Fool’s joke! We salute Siebum in stretching the limits of materiality by using a simple, everyday object as the canvas; reminding us that “commonplace” doesn’t have to mean “overlooked”.

Image credits: Dezeen, Studio Rene Siebum