The Front Door: There’s an App for That

The Front Door: There’s an App for That

Entry systems today are smarter than ever, and app-controlled designs by August, Kwikset, Lockitron and more are leading the way to a keyless future. Plus, three door handles with major design cred.

Forward thinking is a critical design tool today. By the time a product rolls off the assembly line, technology has already advanced, creating a potentially endless struggle to keep up with the Jetsons. However, it seems product designer Yves Béhar, of Fuseproject in San Francisco, stays one step ahead by keeping an eye on the future. This spring brought the release of his latest venture, the August Smart Lock, a streamlined design that aims to be “safe, simple and social.” It’s the brainchild of California innovator August, co-founded by Béhar with Jason Johnson, a veteran of start-ups and tech companies such as Dolby, and Global IP Solutions (since acquired by Google).

The lock is one of several devices vying to gain a foothold in the smart-home market, similar to what Nest has done with its app-controlled thermo­stats. Among the competitors is Kwikset’s Kevo Bluetooth lock, sold for CDN$240, which opens with just a tap. Lockitron, based in Mountain View, California, has a smart option priced at CDN$195. It is now in production, thanks to a crowd-funding initiative that raised over US$2.3 million. Other concepts include the Off door handle, which allows you to switch off electricity and gas connections as you exit; and Grabit, which uses an ergonomically placed thumbprint reader.

Some of these high-tech systems employ the same security encryption as online banking, and like car entry systems many products offer a Bluetooth-enabled auto-unlock feature. They also track comings and goings, a debatable “benefit.” Going back to August’s three tenets of safe, simple and social, one marvels at how a lock can be “social.” August and Lockitron’s models let you send invitations to friends so they can access your house, and for others to download the app to open the lock. Whether we need our door locks to do all of these things remains to be seen. August Smart Lock, CDN$215, ­august.­com

Street Smart
Architects get a handle on hardware


This cylindrical handle, part of Tom Kundig’s collection for 12th Avenue Iron, is available in a range of sizes and finishes including glossy red or white, and wax-finished blackened steel.  From CDN$155  


Among Olivari’s latest collection is the uniquely proportioned Conca, from Patricia Urquiola, which lends a surprising visual weight. In chrome, matte chrome and Superinox satin.  From CDN$160


Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi crafted this handle for her own home. Now in production by Izé, this model is faithful to the original details, and it comes in all of the company’s finish options. CDN $435

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