How to break the rules of door design

Inspiration 14 April 2021

It sounds like a dream—being able to design whatever comes to mind without worrying about the execution. It just seems too good to be true.

Claim your design freedom

Perhaps, in some cases, it is. There are simply tons of spoken and unspoken rules that architecture and design have to comply with. However, there are situations in which you can take back your design freedom by utilizing smart solutions that are already out there but that not many people know about. And this is especially true for the architecture and design of doors.

Pivoting entrance door by Gavin Maddock with a FritsJurgens System M pivot hinge

Psychological doors

Doors play an enormously important role in the perception of a space. Inside a building, doors create spaces beyond what is visible to the eye.

A wall without a door is just a wall, without any hint of something being behind it. A wall with a door in it enlarges the entire building by allowing the mind to wonder what can be discovered behind that door.

Why settle for less?

Besides the psychological purposes of doors, they offer limitless design possibilities. A door and its design can positively influence the atmosphere of a space or a building, and designers and architects should not take this lightly.

For example, an entry is often the first tangible element of a building that’s encountered, and it sets the tone for the rest of the interior. It’s a shame when a beautiful interior is being brought down by basic interior doors. Why settle for mediocre when you can create something more than just a passageway?

Copper entrance pivot door with System M pivot hinge, designed by Porebski Architects, built by Cumberland Building
© photographed by Peter Bennetts

Beyond basic, hinged doors

When designing a statement with a door, you will quickly find out that a basic, hinged type of door will not suffice. Due to weight and measurement reasons, the most logical choice is often a pivot door.

A pivot door rotates on a vertical axis, determined by the pivot hinge and top pivot placement. The vertical axis creates a freely rotating canvas that can take any possible design and adds a spectacular movement to the door. Taking this movement into your design makes an experience instead of a passage.

Moreover, pivot doors with the proper hardware can carry enormous weights and take any door measurement type. However, not every pivot hardware is up to this task. The pivot hinge itself can unfortunately create quite some trouble.

Statement interior pivot door from perforated steel. By Studio Tamat, with FritsJurgens System M pivot hinge

“A pivot door is too difficult and too expensive.”

The installation process of an in-floor pivot hinge system is a real drag. Such a drag even that your pivot door design will often need to be adjusted or worse, is taken out of the designs, even though that is the exact thing you wanted to avoid.

The installation of an in-floor pivot hinge is expensive and takes several days; when underfloor heating is present, you can forget the pivot door altogether; special precautions have to be taken for the floor in an early stage of the build; the floor has to be opened up again afterward—especially in existing situations; adjusting the position of the door is impossible; and last but definitely not least: a cover plate, often large and not good-looking, has to be placed on the floor, often out of line with the interior design.

Even with a terrazzo pan, which is expensive and takes a large amount of attention to detail and time to make perfect, you will see the cover plate’s outlines on the floor.

Don’t be bullied by the rules

Don’t give up on the pivot door just yet. FritsJurgens has created various pivot hinges that solve all of the issues above. Besides being easy to install, these hinges make unlimited door heights possible and carry doors with weights up to 500 kg. FritsJurgens’ pivot hinges are not placed in the floor but in the door itself. This crucial switch makes all the difference, giving you your license to dream.

Save time and money

When applying a FritsJurgens pivot hinge, the only things going into the floor are 8 mm long pins that hold the small floor plate in place. This plate replaces the cover plate of an in-floor closer. The pivot hinge, hidden inside the bottom of the door, rests on this floor plate.

Barely anything has to be done on-site: installing the floor plate, the ceiling plate, and the door is done when the final floor is in place. The installation takes only thirty minutes altogether. This saves a tremendous amount of time and money—easily up to $2000.

No compromises

The pivot hinges by FritsJurgens can be installed in new and existing situations without opening up the floor. No special precautions have to be taken whatsoever.

Underfloor heating is, thanks to the short pins of the floor plate, not an issue. Furthermore, the floor plate will not disrupt the design of your entry or interior. The floor plates are available in various designs, all scratch-resistant and very small. But lastly, and most importantly: these hinges get you your design freedom back.

A FritsJurgens floor plate. These are available in various shapes and colors
A stainless steel FritsJurgens floor plate under a pivot door. The pivot hinge is hidden in the wooden door frame, on top of the floor plate

The FritsJurgens System M+

The FritsJurgens pivot hinges are available in four ranges: System One, System 3, and System M, all with their own unique features. In 2020, FritsJurgens launched System M+, a pivot hinge system that adds a new level of adjustability to the existing System M range known for this feature.

This hinge can carry doors with weights up to 500 kg and offers unlimited door heights. The hinge will make sure the pivot door’s movement is entirely in control, even when a door weighs 500 kg and is 7 meters tall.

The movement of every pivot hinge system in the System M range can easily be adjusted on the bottom of the pivot door at any given moment after the door has been installed.

Discover more about the installation process of a FritsJurgens pivot hinge and its adjustability here.

The FritsJurgens System M+ pivot hinge and a top pivot

Go big or go home

FritsJurgens’ pivot hinges create the design freedom that designers and makers are often looking for. Anything is possible in terms of material, from wood to metal to marble. These hinges allow you to stop settling for mediocre and start making design statements. There are examples of pivot doors of over 7 meters tall, weighing 500 kg and still moving flawlessly thanks to hydraulic technologies.

Design that extraordinary door

So yes, in most cases, the execution of your design will cause you several headaches. Your door designs, however, will not. At least, not anymore. The unspoken rules for door design are dismissed, and design freedom is at your feet. All you have to do is put the smart solutions that are already out there to use.

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