‘Touch has a memory’, John Keats

This small collection of images represents a very partial inventory of the surfaces touched over the course of a day in Florence. Jean-Paul Sartre recalls stopping short on the threshold of a building, ‘because I felt in my hand a cold object which held my attention through a sort of personality. I opened my hand, looked: I was simply holding the doorknob’. In similar vein, Alvar Aalto’s bronze door handle has been characterised as the ‘handshake of a building’. This sense of engaging with the essence of a philosophy of space through everything the hand touches is a defining goal of the design process.


John Pawson