February 12, 2016

9 Unusual Doorknobs

How many times a day do you use a door knob or handle? I’ll wait here while you think about that for a minute. Okay, so, how many times? 50? 100? Seriously, there is probably no simple machine you use more without thinking about it than the doorknob. And yet, for the most part, the vast majority of doorknobs are dull, plain objects intended to blend in rather than be seen. Well, I say why should all the other household objects get all the glory? Why should there be fancy soap dispensers, decorative light-switch plates, and souvenir spoon rests while the poor doorknob goes without embellishment? Fortunately for the humble doorknob, there are a handful of designers who agree with me, and they have come up with a handful of really interesting knobs and handles. Here’s a list of the coolest ones I’ve come across.

9. Decorative Glass Doorknobs

These flamboyant doorknobs by Out of the Blue Design Studio will add a little pizzazz to just about any room. Personally, I’m not a fan of pizzazz; it’s a characteristic usually held in high esteem by ladies who wear denim shirts with plastic rhinestones and have long conversations with their cats while they watch children’s beauty pageants on TLC. Well, okay, some of these knobs are pretty classy and might work in a sophisticated home. Others, though, are pretty gaudy.


8. Fingerprint Door Handle

I really do not know what designer Philip Watts was thinking with this funky door handle. I mean, I’m fine with unusual, abstract things that are weird just for the sake of being weird. But what really bothers me about this piece is that the fingerprints don’t line up with the way you actually grip the handle. Try it yourself: grasp a pen in your hand like it’s a door handle and see where you finger tips touch. See what I’m saying?


7. Knob Light

Designer Jeong-Sun Park supposedly takes much of his inspiration from contemplation of the butterfly effect (not the Ashton Kutcher movie, but the concept on which the movie is based). What this means is that he likes to alter our experience of everyday objects and see how our perceptions of our living environment change. So he makes a doorknob out of a light bulb, altering the way you use the doorknob. And presto, you’ve just been philosophized, when all you were trying to do was go to the bathroom.


6. Corkscrew Doorknob

I do not know how this corkscrew doorknob works. Hell, it might not even be a real doorknob, and if it is it’s probably just some temporary solution someone came up with when the regular doorknob fell off. Still, I like it.

5. Glass Globe Doorknob

Japanese architect Hideyuki Nakayama partnered with Japanese knob-maker Union to produce this ingenious doorknob. By ingenious, of course, I mean cool but stupid. This doorknob is cool because it projects whatever is happening on the other side of the door inside the glass globe that makes up the knob. The effect is quite pretty. This doorknob is stupid, of course, because it completely contradicts the purpose of a door (privacy). Honestly, I can’t think of a single door in any house or apartment I’ve ever lived in on which this doorknob wouldn’t be utterly disastrous. Well, maybe a closet door, but then there’d be nothing to see anyway.


4. Doorknob Condition

Don’t ask what the name “Doorknob Condition” is all about. There’s probably some esoteric explanation that has nothing to do with the fact that this is an awesome way to provide an extra level of privacy. You enter the room like normal; once inside, you pull the knob toward you, and on the other side it sinks flush into the door so no one can grab it. If they had this in college dorms, no one would ever have to put a stinky sock on their doorknob again. Now that’s progress.


3. Doorknob Horn

Fancy German designer Dieter Volkers came up with this brilliant item. It’s a doorknob that is also a horn. So there is no need to have an electrician come install a doorbell. Instead, have a locksmith instill this beauty and your guests can just honk the horn when they arrive. Also, it acts like a burglar alarm when the unsuspecting thief turns the knob to see if the door is locked.

2. SMNS Clip

Okay, honestly, this door handle would dramatically improve my everyday life. Gionata Gato has given us a product so obviously useful that you have to wonder how no one has thought of it before. How many times a month do you think of something you need to do before or after you leave the house the next morning, make a mental note not to forget, go to sleep, and then completely forget about it by the time you leave the house? I’ve gotten into the habit of writing notes and placing them on top of my wallet—a system that fails if I happen to forget my wallet. But this doorknob memo clip is foolproof (unless you frequently leave by climbing out the windows).


1. Hand-le Doorknob

Hand. Handle. Hand-le. Get it? Get it? Okay, corny name aside, this doorknob is pretty awesome, and obviously the best of the bunch. Naomi Thellier has designed a doorknob for those powerful, confident individuals who loath wussy dead fish handshakes and want to train all of their friends and acquaintances to be more firm and assertive. Because there is no way to shake this doorknob’s hand without taking a firm grip. In fact, if you ask me, anyone looking to get that big promotion at work should put one of these on every door in their house. They might as well call this doorknob the “Bossmaker.”