Like a bold wall or an unusual piece of furniture, doors have the opportunity to evoke a person’s mood through colour and detail, setting the tone for the space behind it.
In Feng Shui, doors are very important in receiving chi/energy both through the front of the home and those leading to other rooms.
Doors hold our spaces secure and we’re always opening, closing or passing through them. However, very little attention is paid to the design of doors, particularly in Australia according to Georgia Ezra, director of multidisciplinary design practice G.A.B.B.E
Ezra believes Australians prefer to follow trends, with consumers opting for a classic, “safer” design, leading to with a sea of “white box” doors instead of an array of aesthetically pleasing entry points.
Simple aesthetics are only part of the issue, however, with Ezra stating that the entry and transition into a different space via doorways and the way that it integrates within the overall scheme of an interior is extremely important.
“For me, the pass through into a new area of one’s home is hugely influential,” she said in a statement. “The doorway creates the focal point of suspense and reveal and sets precedence for what is to come. The best way to start the story for your interior space is to make the door in front of it a feature.”
When thinking about striking door decor, the famous doors that make up the Georgian Squares in Dublin or perhaps the ornate doors that line the streets in Rabat, Morocco may come to mind.
While history offers some decorative examples, Europeans still love a beautifully designed door according to Ezra.
“The European market traditionally places greater emphasis on its choice of internal doors as one of the most important design features of the home,” she said.
Athina Solomou, national marketing manager – Doors Group, noted there is plenty of opportunity for unique door design:
“The style, the colour and the material of your door can flow onto every piece of furniture, every fixture, every fabric and every accessory in the room. Whether you’re a builder, interior designer or renovator you should place emphasis on the style of doors you choose to start your interior story,” she said.
Ezra has noticed “wow worthy” door décor in Spain and other European countries, Asia, America, Turkey and Morocco.
“What we’re seeing overseas is a lot more integration between the door within the home as an intrinsic part of the design and not an afterthought,” she explained. “It’s something people want to highlight, embrace and make a bold statement."
She added that “bold” is not necessarily a daring colour like bright red. Instead, it can be a soft grey or feminine pink, provided it captures the eye.
“If you want to make a difference in your home, a change or create ambiance, one space to look at instead of joinery or changing the kitchen bench is the door,” she said.
When selecting a door, the experience counts. The way people will see it, hold the handle or pass through a door could lead to questions such as:
- What are they touching?
- What are they feeling?
- What are they seeing?
“You can have an effect on the end-user,” said Ezra. “There are a variety of materials, colours, style and finishes."
In Australia, Corinthian Doors recently launched an Art Deco collection leaning on the modernist elements of the era. The collection features 15 modern routered door designs. In contrast, Adore Design specialises in decorative wrought iron doors, leaning on the intricate weaving of patterns.
Beyond just the doors, other elements such as the frame, finish or the door handle can add style.
“If you have a classic door, why not have a beautiful black, white or navy powder coated handle?” Erza said.
Even starchitects, Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas have recently tapped into this market, demonstrating the design opportunities found in the smaller details.
During the recent Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italian manufacturer Olivari unveiled a new door handle design collaboration with Hadid and Koolhaas.
Open, by Koolhaas of OMA, is mechanically inspired and was designed to be functional, focused on a door handle’s primary elements - the hub and the lever.
“This modular separation results inn two independent elements that join mechanically to generate multiple combinations of metals and finishes,” OMA's website reads.
Chevron by Hadid reflects her fluid style and is informed by her upcoming project in New York City which features a chevron pattern façade.
According to designboom, “the handle takes upon a curving form, which enhances the ergonomic relationship between the hand and the piece, optimising it through a series of delicate carving-out of the object’s volume.”
While the trend toward more interesting doors is slowly emerging in Australia, Ezra would like to see the nation take bold new steps in door design.
“I have found that in Australia, consumers prefer what is trending or popular in mainstream media. They also might doubt their own ability to design something great,” she said.
She has also observed that Australians are investors and consider the longevity of their products, with timeless design usually adopted for easier resell of their properties.
“However, consumers should know that these items such as a customised door can give the home unique bones to give the resell higher value," she said.
Another growing challenge remains the many Australians living in apartment buildings or townhouses, who are subject to the terms of body corporate guidelines rather than having the opportunity to customise their front door or any part of their exterior.
“I actually think with strata it’s important because corridors with multiple coloured doors and designs would look messy,” said Ezra. “I would instead encourage those consumers to look at internal doors; sliding doors, glazed framed doors and playing with patter and print.”
Ezra stressed that she isn’t opposed to either modern or classic door styles; she is supportive of personalised design and the appropriation of the style dependent on the home and its inhabitants.
“There’s no such thing as right or wrong design – just your design,” she said.