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dRMM to create ‘endless stair’ for London Design Festival

[First look] dRMM has revealed their plans for an ‘Escher-like’ timber staircase to be built as part of London Design Festival

The series of interlocking timber staircases will be a key feature of the week-long event later this year (14-22 September) and will sit outside St Paul’s Cathedral, overlooking the Millennium Bridge and across to Tate Modern.

Alex de Rijke, founder of dRMM architects described the stair as ‘a three-dimensional exercise in composition, structure and scale’.

He added: ‘The ambitious structure is both marker and meeting place, on axis with the Millennium Bridge. The Escher-like game of perception and circulation in timber playfully contrasts with the religious and corporate environment of stone and glass in the city.’

Commissioned by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the project will showcase the potential of cross laminated timber panels made from tulipwood.

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is used to create timber panels that can form buildings quickly, efficiently and sustainably. CLT is usually made from softwood, and this project will showcase the advantages of using a hardwood to create much thinner panels.

‘This project explores how we can use hardwood in innovative and exciting ways. Delivering the project will be a true collaborative effort, and that of course, is the pleasure of working with timber. Supporting AHEC and dRMM to design the Endless Stair provides fertile opportunity for this elegant sculpture to act as a test bed for the creative use of timber’, said Adrian Campbell, associate director at Arup, who are the engineers on the scheme.

London-based design practice Seam will provide a lighting scheme to illuminate the installation.

At the last London Design Festival, AHEC were responsible for Amanda Levete Architects’ Timber Wave, which was constructed outside the V&A.

The London Design Festival runs from the 14 – 22 September 2013.


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