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Architecture: The Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge

The Living Staircase

The London based designer Paul Cocksedge, was commissioned by Resolution Property to create a swirling staircase that will be the focal point of Ampersand, a new state of the art office building in London’s Soho dedicated to creative businesses. For Ampersand the question was: how can a staircase become something more than a means of moving from floor to floor? Paul Cocksedge has answered this question with his project, “The Living Staircase”.

The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge
The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge

The spiral staircase features balustrades overflowing with plants, creating lines of swirling greenery that reach from floor to ceiling. Circular spaces where employees can take time out from their work. It is actually a combination of staircase and room, of movement and stillness, vertical and horizontal”, according to Cocksedge. 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 added.

The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge
The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge

The spiral design is wider than a standard staircase, inviting employees to spend time with the plants. The spirals open into three circular wooden platform spaces that are lined with rounded benches. These landings can function as social places, impromptu meeting areas. At every turn there is an opportunity to stop and look, smell, read, write, talk, think, and rest. The overflowing plants create a welcoming environment while naturally cleaning the air.

The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge
The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge

Curving planters line the banisters of Paul Cocksedge‘s Living Staircase, creating lines of swirling greenery that reach from floor to ceiling. The overflowing plants create a welcoming environment while naturally cleaning the air.

The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge
The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge

The living staircase is to inspire and to entice the senses while offering a place to stop, look, smell and feel while moving from one meeting to the next. The beds could be planted with edible herbs and small fruit-bearing plants to provide a source of nourishment for employees during their lunches.

The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge
The living staircase by Paul Cocksedge

After examining the structure of a staircase, Cocksedge discovered that by expanding its diameter and removing the traditional central, load-bearing pillar, a new hidden space could be revealed at its centre. As people emerge onto the staircase from each floor, they are able to enter the centre of the spiral and into social spaces devoted to a specific activity: a place to draw, to read a novel or to pick fresh mint for tea.

Everything about “The Living Staircase” relates directly to the people using it, including the plants along the balustrade, which are not intended as mere decoration but envisaged as a working garden. Individual members of the Ampersand team will care for each of the plants.

The four-storey structure is lined with lush plant life that infuses the modern interior of the office with greenery.

Photo’s courtesy of Dezeen.

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