One Design - One Handle | Milan Design Week 2019
Milan Design Week 2019


UNION produces over three thousand different types of door handles. Its products are made from a range of materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, iron, brass, natural wood, glass, ceramics, and leather. Designs incorporate a rich variety of techniques, shapes, and sizes. UNION's production setup allows for manufacturing both single items and mass orders, but the spirit of expert craftsmanship is the same across all designs.

UNION promises to continue fostering the communication of ideas between hardware designers and the artisans to support architects and spatial designers the world over with superb handles beyond anything ever before imagined.

For this collaborative effort, the architect Tsuyoshi Tane has analyzed the processes, materials, techniques, manufacturing traditions, and history behind UNION's handles and conceptualized how best to communicate the unbroken spirit that continues to inspire UNION's craftsmanship.

To do this, he has employed the technique of sand mold casting, one of the most ancient casting processes known to human civilization. UNION has used this technique since its inception, and still applies it today in trial productions and small-batch handle manufacturing.

In this exhibit, "One Design - One Handle," Tsuyoshi focuses on the unique artistry of sand mold casting and its application in creating exactly one handle per mold. Set at the site of a former factory, the installation will make use of an enormous collection of resources and materials to highlight handles and the processes that form them.



UNION One Design - One Handle


April 9, 2019 (Tues) to April 14 (Sun), 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.


Via Tortona 32, Milan

Press Preview

April 8, 2019 (Mon), 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Reception Party

April 8, 2019 (Mon), 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Venue Composition/




Demonstration and Process of Sand Cast Molding

living archive


Exhibition of the varied materials and resources used to form handles

Tsuyoshi Tane

The architect Tsuyoshi Tane was born in Tokyo in 1979. He is currently based in Paris, France, and heads the firm Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects.
His major works include the Estonian National Museum (2016), the New National Museum - Kofun Stadium (proposal) (2012), and LIGHT is TIME (2014), among other internationally recognized projects.
He has received numerous awards, including Nouveaux Albums des Jeunes Architectes by the French Ministry of Culture (2008), the 67th Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts - New Face Award, and Architect of the Year, 2019. In 2012, he taught at Columbia University's GSAPP.

Venue Composition / Installation
Tsuyoshi Tane



UNION celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding on December 23, 2018.
Our company started as a small metal hardware store in Osaka right after World War II. At the time, sliding doors were the standard for living spaces across Japan, but Western-styles were quickly beginning to take over the architectural scene. Sensing this change, UNION transformed itself into a manufacturer of architectural hardware with a focus on door handles, levers, and knobs in 1958. With the architectural boom of the 1960's, UNION began collaborating with various designers and architects to create a multitude of door handles for specially-contracted buildings and rooms. Since then, we have continued to pass down the designs of these original handles and still manufacture many of them as part of UNION's current product lineup. Over the past 60 years, UNION has constantly made new endeavors in craftsmanship and design through its work on door handles. We have processed an array of materials covering everything from aluminum, iron, and brass to wood, glass, and ceramics. By incorporating the latest processing technologies with traditional artisanal techniques still in use around Japan, we have been able to craft custom single handles and turn out unique and complex designs at the production quantities our customers demand.
As an object, a door handle may appear to be nothing more than a small, everyday item in the rooms we inhabit. At UNION, however, we believe the handle's true purpose is not simply functional or ornamental in nature. Rather, handles serve as a tool of communication connecting people and spaces, architecture and cities. Even a small handle that can be hidden in the palm of your hand has the power to enrich a space or support an architectural work in cultivating the surrounding townscape.

This is why our first priority at UNION is to make sure we thoughtfully craft each handle. Our goal is to deliver reliable manufacturing capable of creating handles beyond anything yet imagined, with craftsmanship that realizes the architect's vision starting from a single set. These principles have inspired our work over the past 60 years.

President Junzo Tateno

about union


Founded in 1958, UNION is a Japanese manufacturer of architectural hardware specializing in door handles, with headquarters in Osaka. Its products incorporate a wide range of materials and techniques that fuse cutting-edge methods with traditional Japanese craftsmanship.

UNION's rich and extensive existing portfolio is combined with the ability to produce original, one-of-a-kind products from scratch. In the field of designer door handles, UNION commands more than 80% of the Japanese market in architectural works across Japan. It has also received international recognition for its designs and exceptional quality, and its hardware has been used on renowned buildings and structures worldwide, including New York City's One World Trade Center.



Via Tortona 32, Milan GOOGLE MAP




From the city of Milan

Take Milan Metro Line 1 (M1) bound for Rho Fiera and get off at the final stop (Rho Fiera)
*You will need to pay an extra-urban fare as the stop is outside the urban area of Milan (Valid for metro lines, buses, trams, and railways)

You can check the salonemilan official website for details.



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