“A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.”*

*Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value (selection from his personal notes made by Georg Henrik von Wright, originally published 1970).

Edwin Heathcote wrote for Apollo magazine of 10 June 2020:

“…At the turn of the 20th century architects, rather than artisans, began turning their attention to door handles. The advent of art nouveau and the conception of the building as a Gesamtkunstwerk led to a proliferation of florid, organic brass handles which mirrored the fluid lines of the structure, reconceiving the handle as architectural microcosm rather than craftwork add-on. Peter Behrens, Hector Guimard, Josef Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann and dozens of others created complex, intense and compact designs which mirrored the whiplash lines or geometric obsessions of their architecture. Antoni Gaudí’s designs for the delicately scrolled door handles of the Casa Batlló of 1904–06 have a stripped rococo feel and are still in production.

…Arguably the most influential, although not necessarily familiar, door handle was designed not by an architect but by a philosopher – albeit one with an engineering degree. Ludwig Wittgenstein’s handle for the house he designed for his sister in Vienna in 1928 is a simple bent metal bar with one of the pair kinked to accommodate a portion of frame for the French doors it was designed for. It apparently took him a year to design (he spent two years on the radiators), but that simple bent bar morphed into the bent tube which is perhaps the most ubiquitous and generic of all modern designs.”

From the website of the Victoria &Albert Museum, London:

“…it was the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle that brought the sweeping and innovative style of Art Nouveau to the world at large. From the elegant glassware of Emile Gallé to the graceful forms of cabinet-maker Louis Majorelle, the Paris exposition (and its later offshoots in Glasgow and Turin) displayed the whiplash curves and organic motifs that became forever entwined with the rise of Art Nouveau, stimulating the New Art craze both in France and beyond.”

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