Despite their small size, door handles very much define the impression we have of a space, an apartment, a house. They are our sensory connection to the building, the element with which we establish contact with the architecture. It comes as no surprise, then, that door handles have always been the subject of creative enquiry. The number of designers and architects who have endeavored to come up with the right shape for this small fitting is staggering. By way of contrast, a mere dozen shapes have stood the test of time.
One such design is that by Rudolf Wilke for the HEWI 111, which this year is celebrating its 50thanniversary. In 1969, Wilke designed a shape which could be made of polyamide, a material HEWI had been processing since the 1950s and thanks to which it became possible to produce the door handle in a wide range of colors. In conjunction with the material, Wilke’s design created an extremely harmonious overall appearance, regardless of whether it was in muted black, garish yellow, or red. Within a short space of time the “111” became a global success that was copied time and again without the imitations ever achieving the same quality of finishing as the original. HEWI also came to realize that the formal language Rudolf Wilke had devised was ideal as it could be transferred onto other functions and products. An extensive range thus evolved, and today it includes clothes racks, handrails, and much more besides. Moreover, the shape of the “111” is so universal that it cuts a fine figure in stainless steel as well.
The “111” still has immense potential. HEWI is launching two new versions of the door handle to mark its anniversary year: One with a silk-matt finish, which gives the polyamide a totally new look, and to go with it a “mini” metal rosette in matt reduced to a slender ring. Alternatively, a gloss finish can make an effective contrast. The other is available in standard size in a two-color design, with a refined copper, brass, black chrome or stainless steel disc contrasting effectively with the main color. This comes in deep matt black, anthracite, or white. This way HEWI creates numerous other opportunities for adapting the classic 111 to suit personal wishes and preferences.
To mark the 50thanniversary of the “111” door handle, HEWI is staging the “The 111 and I” competition. You will find further information here.