luxury hardware

Post Oak Hotel - Originality in Door Hardware

Our work in the Post Oak Hotel in Houston began in spring 2015 and culminated in our designing and manufacturing 3 unique door handles. The design process was a collaborative process and we were fortunate to work with Gensler in Houston and their wonderful creative team of designers and architects.

The first concept drawings were for the smaller 12” closet and shower doors and 2 alternative handles were designed and cast as protypes in steel for the model room. For those unfamiliar with the process, the model or mock-up room is where alternative samples of fabric, wall covering, and hardware are assembled for review and hopefully selection. We had submitted 2 handles for the barn doors and our braid prototype was selected as the handle for the closet, shower and French doo

Braid designs original and revised.jpg

The braid handle was inspired by an image of a chain bracelet that the Gensler team were using as a starting point. The interlocking woven nature of a gold chain was re-conceived by Martin Pierce as rows of braided rope that would ensconce a rod of solid steel.

The alternative handle “ribbon” was a more abstract design loosely based on vertebrae and building blocks.

Ribbon pull custom barn door handle.jpg

In posts that follow we will be sharing photos of these pieces and will continue to discuss the other original handle designs made for this luxury hotel.

Trees That Inspire Door Handles

Not all trees lend themselves or rather bend themselves to work as luxury door handles so when creating a tree door handle we use considerable artistic license.  With our Hedgerow design we blended several different trees and tree parts. Which trees inspired us? I am reluctant to name any one tree in part because this iconic design reminds different designers of different trees but also because the design came from Martin’s imagination and not from studying any particular tree. So, if the handle reminds you of a California Cypress or gnarly wild oak or even of a Bunyan tree, then you are right.

We are in the process of adding different finishes to the Hedgerow tree and as you may know from previous posts are also developing a new tree design which if all goes well will be lit with interior LED diodes, so please do follow our post for progress reports. As with the Hedgerow heroic handle, while the new design is instantly recognizable as a tree the family it belongs to is imaginary.

The canopy of the Hedgerow tree shown above flows from the trunk of the tree and it is pitched and so that the back of the canopy lies flat and flush to the front of the door. The tree handle is attached to the door by through bolts that screw from the inside of the door into the back of the canopy.

The gnarly Bunyan reminiscent roots also flow from the trunk and similarly have a flat back where another though bolt supports the hefty handle that is cast from 10lbs of solid bronze.

Banyan tree roots inspiration for Hedgerow Pull mounting point

Banyan tree roots inspiration for Hedgerow Pull mounting point

A Textural Approach to Luxury Door Hardware

While much of what we cast is visually dramatic where possible we like to add a textural note to our Luxury door hardware. The lost wax method of casting is perfect for creating deeply textural pieces that would be almost impossible to achieve with less expensive casting methods such as sand casting. The depth of a particular detail is limited only by the pattern makers skill and by the gravity flow of the molten metal.             

The pattern is the 3 dimensional original and is the starting point for the casting. The mold is made from either a latex solution that can be brushed on or from a catalytic 2 part silicone solution that can be poured over the pattern. While both solutions take an almost perfect impression from the pattern, the latex solution will require several layers and will require a more rigid casing to support the floppy mold.

The Willow heroic door pull is a good example of the type of detail and texture that can be achieved from a silicone mold that was made from the pattern above. The pattern was carved by Martin in bass wood which is a pale and tightly grained wood and then painted with a grey primer to more clearly reveal any imperfections and to also help fill in any pores in the wood grain. The undulations in the leaf tendrils left good impressions in the mold and the result is a casting that is an almost perfect facsimile of the original but when rendered in bronze creates a stunning door handle.

Section of the pattern with grey primer to show any imperfections and to fill the wood grain

Section of the pattern with grey primer to show any imperfections and to fill the wood grain

A new adventure awaits Martin Pierce Hardware

UBM launches "PORTA", a boutique for the finest door                                       hardware, the first of its kind in the Middle East." Thus begins a new chapter for Martin Pierce Custom Hardware.  We are thrilled and proud to be associated with Universal Building materials (UBM) and their CEO, Raghunath, as they open their new store in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia.  According to their press release, "Universal Building Materials has established itself as a pioneer in the construction materials  business of the KSA for more than three decades."

We will be joined by other luxury hardware brands as UBM delivers "door jewelry" to the discriminating designers and architects in the area.  The display areas will provide a real see and touch experience to assist clients in making their buying decisions as you can see by these photos of not only our display but others as well.  We were able to be involved in the display decisions so that our products are shown to their very best advantage.

martin pierce saudi arabia willow display

martin pierce saudi arabia display for others

martin pierce saudi arabia large display

If you would like to join us on this new adventure, view our complete line of hardware and get the latest news on what is happening at Martin Pierce, please visit us at