Students reimagine the doorknob in departmental design contest

Students reimagined the doorknob in a fall 2015 design contest.

What’s something that people use all the time but hardly notice?

It’s the underappreciated doorknob, an object that first-year environmental design students at Texas A&M reimagined in a fall 2015 contest hosted by the Texas A&M Department of Architecture.

Approximately 90 students responded to a simple challenge from contest organizers: design and manufacture a doorknob small enough to fit in an adult’s hand.

“The contest was a means of creating a platform of competencies for beginning design students to creatively portray a prototype,” said Negar Kalantar, assistant professor of architecture and one of the contest organizers.

Two entries, “Endless,” by Chesli Lobue, and “Saphira,” by Kimberly Lambeth, earned Outstanding Design honors from a jury of nine architecture faculty members, who evaluated the doorknob designs in terms of their creativity and craftsmanship.

Lobue said her design, which resembles the mathematical symbol representing infinity, was also influenced by the Möbius strip — a surface with only one side and one boundary.

“’Endless’ is large enough for one’s hand to comfortably grip and is easy to turn,” she said.

Lambeth, whose entry also earned an Outstanding Design honor, sought to create a doorknob that would be easy for anyone to grasp by accommodating different hands’ shapes and sizes.

“The doorknob’s textured surface provides a grip for the hand, and the effects of light playing on the doorknob’s reflective, curved interior surfaces pleases the eye,” she said.

The winning entries, both fabricated in the college woodshop, were announced as the contest winners by Ward Wells, head of the Department of Architecture, at a Dec. 9, 2015 ceremony in the Langford B exhibit hall, where all entries were displayed. Wells also served on the contest jury.

He also announced doorknobs by Britteny Martinez, Kelsey McArdle, Rachel Ruby and Brian Vu as Recognized Design entries.

Department faculty members serving as student advisers and/or jurors were Alireza Borhani, Gabriel Esquivel, René Graham, Rodney Hill, Shelley Holliday, Negar Kalantar, Gerald Maffei and Michael O'Brien. 

posted March 25, 2016