“Handle to Heaven” - FSB’s latest publication

An inspirational journey of discovery through the world of sacred architecture

Those negotiating the portal of any sacred building cross the threshold into a world of spirituality. It is a transition of great significance not just in a symbolic sense. Selecting the door handles to be fitted in such a building is similarly a very special act, opening up the way to new spheres as they do whilst also embodying a building's overall stylistic identity at the level of its finest detail. "Handle to Heaven", the latest book published by noted architectural hardware manufacturer FSB, addresses itself to the subject of both contemporary and period sacred architecture for the three major religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism in the form of reports, interviews and photo essays. The edition comes in an innovative format that appears to merge two books into one and sheds light on exciting facets of the subject.

Fitting out sacred buildings has been a task dear to FSB’s heart ever since the company was established 140 years ago. Franz Schneider, who founded the business in 1881, initially specialised in producing cabinet furniture and devotional articles such as crosses, crucifixes and rosaries as well as figures and likenesses of the saints. Ever since the early 20th century, however, the portfolio of this premium architectural hardware manufacturer has been primarily defined by perfectly engineered door and window fittings. Top-quality materials are likewise a key decisionmaking criterion when selecting door handles for sacred buildings. As a church architect put it recently in an interview with FSB, “A handle mustn’t come across as being flashy or expensive, but it has nevertheless still got to look good and fulfil its function in 20 years time.” Products by FSB boast peerless perfection, handsome designs and dependable longevity. That’s why door handles by FSB have so often been chosen for the portals to sacred buildings, where they bring people into direct contact with the architecture in question. Door handles are the first haptic point of contact that people encounter when entering a building. They establish an immediate physical link between visitors and sacred architecture as a result.

So close to heaven
There are always very special handles to be discovered in important sacred buildings: they are usually bespoke versions of existing handles with designs of a symbolic nature such as motifs from the animal kingdom or the world of religion and they often portray hands. Whether they are artistic, sculptural, of great narrative value or abstractly geometrical, the handles and portals for sacred buildings are as unique and varied as the architecture itself. The Kaiser William Memorial Church in Berlin – built by Egon Eiermann, Cologne Cathedral (the Cathedral Church of St. Peter) and the Church of the Holy Ghost in Wolfsburg to an architectural blueprint by Alvar Aalto are but a few of the impressive examples of architecture highlighting how out-of-the-ordinary handles come into their own when fitted to sacred portals.

The latest publication from the house of Franz Schneider Brakel GmbH und Co KG looks into diverse facets of both contemporary and period sacred architecture and the portal door handles fitted there. With contributions by architecture and design journalists, architects, photographers and theologians – including, among others, Wilfried Kuehn with the House of One, Benedikt Schulz from Schulz und Schulz Architekten, Medine Altiok or renowned photographers Hiepler, Brunier – “Handle to Heaven” devotes itself from a theological and an architectural perspective, and with both the past and the future in mind, to an issue that has engaged the company from the very beginning and which it still enthusiastically embraces today.

A somewhat different book
As well as providing fascinating insights, “Handle to Heaven” is of a most unusual design. It is a book that can be read and studied from either the front or the back. It has two covers, differing typefaces, two forewords and two lengthy photo sections, with views voiced by various generations in both parts of the book.

About FSB
FSB has been focusing on perfection for more than 140 years now and has long since become a byword the world over for perfectly engineered hardware, of the highest quality both functionally and visually, for doors, windows and barrier-free sanitary fit-outs. Architects and builders’ clients relish reaching out for products from Brakel in recognition of FSB’s great design expertise and profound understanding of the requirements of modern construction. Everything in any way associated with handle cul- ture in built spaces is catered to from a single source.

Franz Schneider
Brakel GmbH + Co KG

Anne Levy
Nieheimer Straße 38
33034 Brakel
Telefon: +49 5272 608-105