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Product design: Door handle

After winning an AJ/Allgood competition, Stuart Martin set about turning his design into reality - with much tweaking along the way. By Felix Mara. Photography by Gareth Hacker

Perhaps the closest approximation to Walter Gropius’ ideal of ‘total architecture’ is the work of the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, who designed every detail of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, including the cutlery.

In autumn 2008, ironmongery manufacturer Allgood, in collaboration with the AJ, invited architects to design the ultimate detail: a door handle. The winning design would be manufactured, offering its designer the opportunity to experience the reality of architectural product design. This turned out to be a learning experience for both the Jacobsen-inspired winner, Stuart Martin of WAM, and Allgood.

Marketing manager Alan Field said, ‘Little did we know at the time that it would take so long to get the product to market,’ when the winning design,
the Flow Handle, was launched earlier this month.

Although there may have been occasions during the two-and-a-half year design and production period when Allgood product development manager Bill Chaggar cursed the manufacturing process, Martin deserves credit for persisting with his original vision of an organic, tactile form.

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