FSB Classics Reconceived

Focused on perfection

Boldness is the stuff of great stories

Door handles are covert design heroes that play a key role in any building project – yet are seldom given the credit they deserve. Since time immemorial, architecture and, indeed, design have been coming up with products and their shaping principles that have lost none of their topicality since and hence can justifiably be designated as being classics. Past design movements are constantly inspiring fresh creations that are wholly at one with the original philosophy – FSB accords such models

in its repertoire the label “redesign” or “reconceived classics”. Attracted by our bold focus on perfection, celebrated architects and designers develop their own personal ideal notions of a lever handle to produce models that reflect their authors’ approaches to design in both form and function.

Set out over the following pages are a range of reconceived classics for you to take to your hearts - and hands.

We will be pleased to advise you on our reconceived classics.

When one classic leads to another

© Benjamin McMahon

David Chipperfield approached FSB about designing his own handle range with us. The project kicked off somewhat bumpily owing to the awkward geometry of the lever handle and in particular its shank. David Chipperfield soon realised that the way to resolve the issue was to start with the crank and build the handle up from there. So he took pencil and paper and started drawing away. The upshot was the crank now familiar to us from his U-shaped frame-door lever handle.

Alessandro Mendini

Alessandro Mendini created his FSB 1102 model as a redesign of the legendary lever handle by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer. Mendini was one of the major practitioners of Postmodernism and was a member of the “Memphis” designer group. In the early 1990s, we issued a numbered, limited-edition variant with coloured grips that was signed by the maestro himself and quickly became a hard-to-come-by collector’s item. Alessandro Mendini lives on in our hearts and on our doors.

© Elena Mahugo

Despite being pared down to the formally essential, Jasper Morrison’s designs are in no way coldly minimalist. He imbues his objects with a lasting relevance that transcends fads and trends. His approach to design, for which he has coined the term “super normal”, evolved partly through his collaboration with FSB. Morrison had just turned 30 when he took in hand his first job for industry, FSB 1144, in the late 1980s.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

The legendary graphic designer Otl Aicher proposed that we adopt a stylised handle as our new corporate logo towards the end of the 1980s. Alessandro Mendini was quick to point out that his ingenious proposal resembled the lever handle Ludwig Wittgenstein had designed for his sister’s house. Aicher’s reply was as impish as it was ambiguous: “Now we have an in-house philosopher for you.” The Wittgenstein handle is likewise what inspired FSB 1147.

© Massimiliano Ammatuna

The FSB 1163 lever handle Hans Kollhoff developed for his projects has recourse to the design vocabulary of the 1930s. This was when Ludwig Mies van der Rohe conceived a door handle for the S. A. Loevy bronze factory in Berlin in which a circular shank passes over into a rectangular grip. Hans Kollhoff has re-interpreted these two devices observing the laws of self-evident logic and the matter-of-fact.

© Gilbert McCarragher

The British architect John Pawson took the “Reich-shape handle” Hans Poelzig designed in 1930 and sensitively reinterpreted it for use in a private museum he was in the process of fashioning out of a former telecommunications bunker in Berlin. The version he opted for in classy bronze is ideal for fitting in contemporary architecture. Pawson regards his handle collection as an emblem that visibly helps define a building and sets conscious points of focus.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe has gone down in history as one of the leading exponents of Modernist architecture and the last director of the Bauhaus. The philosophy of “less is more” he propagated is reflected in a series of door handles he developed for his buildings. FSB pays its tributes to the master with its FSB 1267 model. Whilst retaining the formal thrust of its forebears, the handle nevertheless also takes account of what is required of architecture nowadays.

© Simon Hegenberg / Jason Sellers

FSB 1271 is the upshot of a collaborative venture with Jürgen Engel that was defined by a painstakingly meticulous process of analysis and comparison of lever-handle designs already in existence. The frame-door lever handle is worthy of special note; despite being barely perceptible at first glance, its crank nevertheless fulfils normative provisions. And we’re also more than a little proud about FSB 1271 winning the Iconic Design Award.

FSB Webcasts


Hotel Baja La Paz

FSB 1004

© Cesar Bejar

Brönnerstraße 22, Frankfurt

FSB 1144

© Thomas Mayer

Amore Pacific Headquarters, Seoul

FSB 1004

© Noshe and © David Chipperfield Architects

Cafe-Royal, London

FSB 1004

House on Buddentower

FSB 1242

© Roland Borgmann