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Balancing Act


At Allegion, security, design and technology are melded into a top-of-the line locking systems.

Ted Roberts, Style and Design Chief for Allegion, is always aware of the main reason apartment owners and managers buy Schlage’s door locks and hardware.

“We want to make sure people are safe and secure,” Roberts says. “With the progression of technology, locks today offer advanced capabilities. Security remains our primary objective though and is inherent in everything we do.“

But in the modern world of keyless, and wireless locks, security is far from Roberts’ only priority. “We want things that will be reliable, secure and safe, and we seek to blend aesthetics with that. Our products seek to embrace technology while remaining sensitive to popular design trends, colors, and materials,” he says. 

Finding the right mix requires a balancing act.


Roberts knows that his products need to fit with the architect’s larger vision of a property. In today’s world, the design of the property can be viewed as the brand. Details like locks and lighting fixtures and mailboxes are very important to the overall appeal of the property. If locks and fixtures look bad or discordant, it could dampen the enthusiasm potential residents may feel about a property when they visit.

“Whether you have a classic design, a Victorian design, or a modern design, you can so easily ruin the entire look by putting the wrong lanterns around the property or the wrong locks on the doors,” Roberts says. “You are trying to harmonize to create the vision the architect has come up with. I look at our products as the details of the plan. They are the icing on the cake.”

To create designs that harmonize with what architects are creating, Roberts’ team looks far beyond the world of apartments and even real estate. “We monitor the fashion, home décor, furniture and automotive industries,” Roberts says.

This sets Allegion apart. “We are looking at a variety of inspiration, where other manufacturers might be focused on locks and commercial accessories,” Roberts says. “We want our designers to see firsthand what is going on throughout culture to facilitate relevant and inspired designs.”


In the past decade, locks have undergone a lot of changes. “We have taken a product that has been a mechanical product for over 100 years and now, all of a sudden, we can do so much more with electronics,” Roberts says. “There is now access control and there is monitoring.”

For residents, these technological advances offer tremendous ease of use and freedom. Instead of carrying keys when they go out on a run, all they need to do now is remember their access code. “As the younger generation gets more familiar with this technology and the convenience that it offers, I think there is almost an expectation there,” Roberts says.

As technology advances, design trends change. “Technology and design often evolve together, Roberts says.” At times, design aesthetics must respond to technological change. Allegion products today have keypads, antennas, and batteries. All these features didn’t exist on locks a few years ago, and each poses a new challenge to the appearance and customer interactions. Style changes also impact our products. Styling from the 1970’s is currently enjoying a resurgence in apartment communities. We strive to offer products that coordinate with the stone, natural materials, and unique colors of this period." 

“Technology can and should be beautiful,” Roberts says. “There is no reason you should sacrifice one to get the other.”