The staircase with a difference

The staircase with  a difference

A new workspace in the United Kingdom has a staircase that does more than just get people from one level to another. Designed to make more use of what would be minimally-utilised space, the Living Staircase at the new offices of Ampersand in London features rows of planting boxes above the handrails, spaces for relaxation or meetings, a tea bar and a library.

The Living Staircase is not the first to be adapted for multi-functionality, but it is mainly designed for a business environment by Paul Cocksedge Studio in partnership with Arup. It is 12.5 metres high and connects Ampersand’s four office floors.

The load-bearing pillar from the centre of a traditional spiral staircase has been removed in favour of spiralling American white oak and steel.The sculptural design has a sense of dynamism about it. In addition to layered white oak, the staircase spiral and seating spaces alternate in width.  This creates an undulating rhythm up the height of the design.

There is a circular seating space with a wooden bench around its perimeter at each floor of the staircase and building. They branch off at the centre of the staircase and provide building users with spaces for relaxation and workplace interaction.

Paul Cocksedge, the designer, is of the opinion that if a staircase is essentially about going from A to B, there is now a whole world living and breathing in the space between the two. He hopes that staircase will be used in ways they hadn’t at all expected as it allows so much space for all kinds of activities.

The Ampersand building was completed in May this year and provides nearly 6,000 sq metres of office space in London’s Soho district and feaures a roof terrace.

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