The Deceptive Simplicity of Izé’s Z Handle

When a simple door handle exhibits at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, it’s got to be more than good design. The object under discussion is the Z Handle designed by architect Eric Parry, who has been the head of Eric Parry Architects since 1983. Manufactured by Izé, makers of “bespoke ironmongery and lighting,” the Z Handle brings to life Izé’s tagline: “the architecture of the everyday.”

Z Handle. Designed by Eric Parry for Izé.

Z is the first door handle to show at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, where its journey from idea to object is being highlighted: “The display tracks the evolution of the Z handle, from initial concept drawings in Parry’s sketchbook right through to working models and a cast prototype. This perfectly illustrates curator Will Alsop’s approach to this exhibition – demonstrating every stage of the design process,” Izé explains. The particular appeal of the Z Handle lies in its deceptive simplicity. It seems to “grow naturally from the backplate” as a flat right angle. But underneath, a complex engineering unfolds: “What at first is perceived as a reductivist visual element becomes a tactile surprise, the tapering form shaping itself to the grip, the neck moulding itself to the thumb.” Although intended for a housing project in Kuala Lampur, the Z Handle has graced the Sebastien + Barquet Gallery in London. The backplate measures 170mm L x 35mm W with a projection of 70mm x 130mm. That the Z Handle is currently housed in not one, but two galleries is testament to its artfulness.



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