I am always on the lookout for some garden door design inspiration. I have long had a thing about doors, knobs, handles and knockers, they are an intrinsic but overlooked part of everyday life. I love the variety of styles and the tangible feel of ironmongery is fascinating.
’Mummy, is that for your project?” says my son, Oscar as I snap yet another photograph of a door handle in Oslo.
Handles through the ages
Imagine how many people have placed their hands on the handle, and their anticipation of opening the door to the space beyond. I wonder the reasons why people have need to enter the building. Is it was for work? Perhaps good news or unfortunate news. What is the demographic of the people: rich or poor? Old or young? Sick or healthy? Has anybody famous touched this doorknob? The doorway offers a portal to another space, and I love the notion of traversing from one space to the next.
My fascination with door ironmongery started on a visit to Venice many years ago. I noticed the amount of beautiful doors as gateways to beautiful buildings. It was so easy to walk past them, but if you stopped and actually took in the design, you realise they were miniature works of art in themselves. Some of the doors belonged to dwellings still inhabited, others to houses long abandoned and neglected.
Concealing a mystery
Very often regarding design expression, an air of mystery is appealing, and the older the building, usually the more interesting I find it. Were the doors for welcoming people or for protecting what lay beyond. Did the doors and handles belong to wealthy people or were they municipal buildings. I find it perfect for garden design inspiration. With so many methods of construction, some are put together in a make-do-and-mend fashion, while others have beautifully intricate craftsmanship.
A panel full of memories
Aside from the intrinsic design of these doors, knobs, handles and knockers, the tangible memories are what makes this so appealing. From a design history perspective, you could look at the craftsmanship and the design of the particular handle and the design era it belongs in.
Carved handles and the patina of the metal can add age, while steel and glass firmly site the ironmongery in today’s world. Peeling paint, doors within doors, metalwork that has worn away, all evoke the interactions with that threshold over many years.
Inspiration from doors around the world
The variety of door styles from country to country is hugely interesting from a historical point of view. The year of different door knockers depends on what the building was used for in its heyday. The material used to create the door furniture, the colour of the door seen under layers of peeling paint, and how well it has been cared for all give up secrets to the door’s life story.