The wrench that inspired Industrial Facility’s door handle
A chance encounter on a building site and a rummage through a tool box inspired the creation of this sleek design
Sometimes, a temporary fix can lead to a permanent solution, as the award-winning British design Practice Industrial Facility demonstrate.
“In the early years of the studio, there was less work and, in hindsight, this gave us time to think and apply ourselves to subjects that we were interested in,” explain Industrial Facility’s founders Kim Colin and Sam Hecht in their new book. “One of the first objects was the humble door handle.”
“Sam had noticed that builders across the street were using temporary door handles supplied by the manufacturer during construction, until the ‘good ones’ could be fitted. They looked similar to a tool that slipped on to a square peg and, in our opinion, looked and worked better than the replacement ones.”
It’s unclear whether these wrench-like fittings were purpose made, or readily adapted tools, repurposed for the job. In either case, these temporary handles made Kim and Sam look towards the contents of tool boxes when developing the idea.
“We thought that it would be nice to move this idea to greater prominence, and designed a handle that resembled a metal wrench, which, with its ergonomic contours, appears to grasp an exposed square bolt,” they explain. “Both the handle and peg visibly turn together. This project remains a good example of Industrial Facility’s early works – an idea driven by initial curiosity (in this case, about how things work); borrowing rather than inventing; and using function as an aesthetic driver so that there is always a lightness of touch in the finished design.”
To hear more from Sam and Kim, come to London’s Design Museum on 8 May, when the Industrial Facility founders will be talking through their work, their outlook and their new Phaidon book. You can book tickets here, and you can order copies of the new book here.