An attitude of refined simplicity and technical precision that has become synonymous with Foster + Partners’ design approach is well illustrated by the Trapex range of door furniture – an efficient, tactile series that forms a marked contrast with the fluid lines of the Fusital handles, designed four years earlier. The essential idea of a T-shaped knuckle junction that would receive different lengths of steel – whether a shorter door handle, or a longer span of rod between two joints for a drawer – has developed into a series of milled stainless steel fixtures that can be customised by selecting the colour, finish and materiality of the handle sleeve. This allows users to create a highly personalised level of detail through the choice of a wood, synthetic rubber or knurled steel finish.
The effect is at once discreet and particular; anchored by the almost anonymous steel T shape, the brightly coloured soft rubber can be coded to reflect company colours, distinguish between genders in public conveniences or orientate users to different levels in buildings. Similarly, various richly grained wood finishes of sycamore, oak and walnut impart a sense of luxury, while the resistance against the hand of the slightly gritty knurled steel texture differentiates it pleasantly from the cold, oily feel of flat stainless steel that so obviously bears the mark of fingerprints and is difficult to grasp.