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Matter Design's "Helix" Stair Takes Concrete to the Next Level

Exhibited at the BSA Space as part of the Boston Design Biennial in 2013, Matter Design's Helix is a concrete spiral staircase that is full of surprises. Chief among these is its size - the stair was built at half-size to address the practical issues of weight, liability and access - but more important are the details of its assembly. While the steps of most spiral staircases are supported from either the stair's perimeter or a central column, Helix transfers loads directly through the steps below to its base which, rather than resting on the floor as it appears, is in fact suspended from a beam in the ceiling.

Exploded diagram of the casting process. Image Courtesy of Matter Design Diagram of the assembly. Image Courtesy of Matter Design Courtesy of Matter Design Courtesy of Matter Design

For the Love of Stairs

On this day of love, we bring you a compilation of eye candy capable of meeting or exceeding the specifications of any architect. These seductive staircases demand a double take. From curvaceous to straightforward or no-strings-attached (literally), we’ve got something for everyone. 

They're yours to gaze at after the break. 

Vertebrae Staircase / Andrew McConnell

Courtesy of Andrew McConnell
Courtesy of Andrew McConnell

Inspired by the spine of a whale, the Vertebrae Staircase is not simply mimicry of organic form but an exploration in shaping structure. Much of the design work went into refining the single component, or vertebra, that mate with each other creating a unified spine running from floor plate to floor plate. These interlocking vertebrae create a rigid and self-supporting structure. 

More on Andrew McConnell's 'Vertebrae Staircase' after the break.