I take photos of doors quite often – and I have a few favorites, for sure (like this one or this one or this one – a good trompe-l’Å“il door is always a winner too!).

But the door below is definitely my all-time favorite. I mean this door took time to think, design, and make – and probably install, and maintain. Now that’s a door!

I mean look at this thing:

The Salada Tea Doors in downtown Boston are really something to set your eyes upon – from afar it’ll appear as both a sculpture and a shadow – an incongruous dark towering slab, flat but with form. As you approach it changes shape, but only subtly. As you get closer you realize this is because of the reliefs, of predominantly well-figured (those abs!) human beings and…elephants!? (AM I IN BOSTON?! What is this doing here?!)

Now you’re trapped, and you must spend some time examining this door’s story:

As the sign details,

English sculptor Henry Wilson was commissioned to design these doors by Salada Tea Company’s founder Peter Larkin.

Cast by The Gorham Company in 1926, the bronze panels depict the 1920’s Ceylon tea industry from planting through harvest and export. Figures representing Indian deities frame the bronze panels. The bronze doors were awarded with the highly distinguished silver medal at the Paris Salon of 1927.

The marble surrounding the doors consists of reliefs executed by French sculptor M. Caesar Caira and show Demeter, Triptolemus and Persephone; Greek gods associated with agriculture and harvest. Projecting elephant heads from the capitals of the pilasters and profiles of elephants form the frieze above the doors. Salada Tea Company moved its headquarters from this building and Liberty Mutual owns the building today.