An interview with designers Markus Michalski and Michael Schmidt: The FSB 1289 product collection


Michael Schmidt works internationally as an industrial-cum-product designer. Markus Michalski is responsible for design and innovation management at FSB. The two joined forces to design the new FSB 1289 product collection.

What was the challenge involved in designing the new FSB 1289 model?

Markus Michalski: Anyone designing a door handle for FSB does not stop at thinking up a single product; rather, they author an entire series of products – as in the case with the new FSB 1289 collection. This makes it necessary to come up with an idea capable of manifesting itself throughout the range. Customers expect a homogeneous solution for every area of application. Our aspiration at FSB is to be able to deliver on that wish.
Michael Schmidt: Achieving such a degree of stylistic continuity when designing a new lever handle, i.e. finding a formal thread and a coherent design that leaves variants for every type of application looking good, really is what poses the greatest challenge for us designers. Putting the design to detailed effect in all product variants and in a production-optimised manner so as to minimise manufacturing outlay is likewise a great challenge.

What is it that specifically sets the formal idiom of the various FSB 1289 models apart – most notably from other product collections in the company’s repertoire?

Markus Michalski: I regard the approach to linearity as being significant from a design point of view. There are no straight or constructed lines. Neither are there any conventional radii. We operated with curves throughout. Curves engender momentum,

whereas lines are static. Transcending the rigidly linear was essentially what we were after. We envisioned exploiting the depth of craftsmanship afforded by FSB’s production facilities to the full to this end. What you first see when beholding the handle is its lean, pared-down shape, but upon taking hold of it with your hand, it is found to be satisfyingly bulky at the back, a fact most conducive to ergonomic operation. The upshot is a design that is in no way intrusive whilst simultaneously looking modern in a rather surprising way.
Michael Schmidt: Another point pivotal to how the shape evolved was a desire to make the handle as easy as possible to efficiently manufacture. Where the processes involved are sufficiently well-conceived, fewer raw materials and lower levels of productive capacity are required. The issue of the high quality standards needed for a long service life should also be stressed here. All these factors underline the sustainability so authentically lived out by FSB.

What was particularly important to you when designing FSB 1289?

Michael Schmidt: We had our sights centrally set on producing a contemporary design that would be formally related to the sliding-door handles 42 4260 – 42 4265 and door pulls 66 6550 – 66 6552. The idea of designing a lever handle to match our innovative sliding-door handle, a fitting shaped in such a way as to be a pleasure to take hold of, came to us as we were in the process of fashioning the latter.
Markus Michalski: We were intent on coming up with a design that is not loud and yet contains many points of fine detail that become apparent either upon closer inspection or when the handle is taken hold of and operated.

As well as manufacturing fittings for doors and windows, FSB also supplies products for barrier-free sanitary areas under its ErgoSystem® umbrella. How did you forge a link between the new FSB 1289 product collection and the ErgoSystem® range of products?

Markus Michalski: FSB’s customers have high aesthetic aspirations, whilst architects like to be in a position to deliver unified colour schemes for their projects. Such wishes and requirements are our command. Alongside FSB 1289, a cohesively conceived product collection for all types of doors and windows, we also supply uniform fitment solutions for barrier-free sanitary spaces. Our paramount aim is to enable customers to avail themselves ever more intensively of our broad spectrum of handle-culture options.
Michael Schmidt: By finishing products from the A100 variant of its ErgoSystem® in black, FSB has succeeded in designing products with a very contemporary allure for barrier-free areas. The play of light and shadow on the colour black lends a uniformly lush appearance to all the various types of hardware in the range. Each of its items blends in harmoniously with the most diverse of surroundings.