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The hidden treasure from Lemke House – Mies van der Rohe

3 min read

2019 sees the Bauhaus celebrating the centenary of its foundation. The movement’s repercussions are still being felt today and it continues to inspire designers across the world – and also, unfailingly, FSB. A prominent representative of this age was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who has gone down in history as one of the greatest modernist architects.

Mies van der Rohe set store in his work by viewing the inside and outside of a building as a cohesive whole. Thus it was that he also regularly designed items for the interiors of his building projects – his famous Barcelona Chair for the German Pavilion at the 1929 Barcelona International, Exposition, for instance. Or, indeed, various versions of a door lever. Mies van der Rohe incorporated a defining “forefinger furrow” into many of his variants, a feature the human hand finds surprising yet somehow familiar. The handle Mies had had fitted in Lemke House, located in the Berlin borough of Alt-Hohenschönhausen, was the one FSB’s in-house designer Hartmut Weise selected as the prototype for his re-edition. This door lever is a hidden treasure in the truest sense of the phrase, since only one of the original models designed by maestro van der Rohe has survived the ravages of time.

Original design of a door handle by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

FSB has now salvaged this treasure. Its FSB 1267 model is more than merely a replica of the original, though: whilst embodying the formal thrust of its forebears, it nevertheless also pays heed to the requirements of contemporary architecture. Factors such as fire-safety approval, door returns or cranked lever handles for narrow-frame doors did not, after all, enjoy the status then that they do today. The upshot is an exceedingly elegant, highly articulate range of lever handles for doors. FSB 1267 takes the original flowing transition from circular neck to flat grip and re-interprets it, in the process reducing the forefinger furrow to a mere notion. The actual grip has been levelled out.

Designs by Hartmut Weise 1267
Designs by Hartmut Weise 1267
Designs by Hartmut Weise 1267
Designs by Hartmut Weise 1267

When reflecting upon his re-edition, FSB designer Hartmut Weise stresses the profound grasp of form and materiality that Mies van der Rohe brought to bear in his designs:

“Mies was well aware of the close link between a material and the patina that comes with use”
Hartmut Weise

, he explains, “and he knew which stylistic means to adopt in order that, instead of becoming less good-looking through use and the wearing of edges by hands, his models actually became steadily more ‘lovely’.”

FSB 1267 as drive handle for the door in messing
FSB 1267 as drive handle for the door in messing
FSB 1267 in Aluminium
FSB 1267 in Aluminium
Part of the series:

HIDDEN THINGS [#5] or: What are you concealing?


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He was well aware of the close link between a material and the patina that comes with use; he knew full well that handles in bronze gain in beauty in the course of being used. The copper-tin alloy FSB uses for its bronze fittings boasts excellent corrosion resistance, tensile strength and hardness, furthermore. The variants FSB manufactures in Aluminium and Brass are envisaged for deployment in interiors and settings with which they accord.

The new FSB 1267 as drive handle for the door in aluminium
The new FSB 1267 as drive handle for the door in aluminium
The new FSB 1267 as drive handle for the door in messing
The new FSB 1267 as drive handle for the door in messing
The new FSB 1267 as drive handle for the door in bronze
The new FSB 1267 as drive handle for the door in bronze

In-line handles for flush and framed doors are supplemented by an EN 179 variant with return to door and a cranked model for narrow-frame doors. FSB 1267 is prepared for the FSB ASL®/AGL® bearing system. The range is rounded off by conventional window handles, plug-in handles and a fitting for glass doors.

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