PART OF THE TOTAL DESIGN FORSAS Royal Hotel
With soft curves that fit the hand perfectly when gripped, the AJ lever handle from 1956 is a natural marriage of form and function.
The AJ lever handle from 1956 was designed during a period when Arne Jacobsen created some of his most groundbreaking and acclaimed designs. With its gentle curves and precise design, the handle is also a stylistic parallel to the organically shaped furniture that made Arne Jacobsen a recognized name far outside Denmark during the 1950s.
In 1960, the AJ lever handle was part of Arne Jacobsen’s total design of the SAS Royal Hotel (now Radisson Collection Royal Hotel) in Copenhagen. Arne Jacobsen furnished the modern hotel and airport terminal with custom-designed furniture, lamps, bathroom fittings, tableware and textiles that combined to produce the hotel’s exclusive and cosmopolitan atmosphere. This elaborate and harmonious holistic environment included the AJ lever handle, which, like many of the hotel furniture designs, is recognized as an international design icon today.
The AJ lever handle’s organic expression links it stylistically to Arne Jacobsen’s famous furniture from the same period, such as the Ant, the Egg and the Swan. From a functional perspective, the soft curves are a perfect fit for the hand when gripped.
Arne Jacobsen had previously designed door handles for architecture projects, but none of these designs had as distinctive and iconic an expression as the AJ lever handle from 1956. The AJ lever handle’s organic expression links it stylistically to Arne Jacobsen’s famous furniture from the same period, such as the Ant, the Egg and the Swan. From a functional perspective, the soft curves are a perfect fit for the hand when gripped. This simple and innovative design is a natural marriage of form and function.
The AJ lever handle was launched in 1956, and four years later it became world-famous as part of the interior of the SAS Royal Hotel. For the hotel Arne Jacobsen also designed a thumb turn for the door between the rooms. Both the AJ lever handle and the thumb turn are manufactured today by the design company d line.
Arne Jacobsen installed the AJ lever handle in many of the architecture projects he realized after 1956. In addition to several smaller projects and private homes, this includes several of the major projects where Arne Jacobsen was in charge of both the architectural design and elaborate interiors with custom-designed furnishings. At the SAS Royal Hotel, St. Catherine’s College from 1964 and the National Bank of Denmark from 1971, the flowing lines of the AJ lever handle strike an organic contrast to the rectilinear, monumental architecture.
Sources: Arne Jacobsen Design Archives. / Arne Jacobsen’s drawings. The collection of architectural drawings, The Royal Library – Danish Art Library. / Sheridan, M. (2003). Room 606: The SAS House and the Work of Arne Jacobsen. London: Phaidon Press / Stenum Poulsen, K., Skaarup Larsen, A., & Staunsager, S. (2020). Arne Jacobsen – Designing Denmark. Kolding: Trapholt. / Thau, C., & Vindum, K. (1998). Arne Jacobsen. Copenhagen: Danish Architectural Press.