Origami Stair by Bell Phillips


Origami Stair by Bell Phillips architects

Architects Bell Phillips created this folded stainless steel staircase for a south London home.

Origami Stair by Bell Phillips architects

Entitled Origami Stair, the project links two existing apartments to form one duplex in the Victorian building.

Origami Stair by Bell Phillips architects

The six millimeter-thick steps are framed with a glass balustrade.

Origami Stair by Bell Phillips architects

Photographs are by Kilian O'Sullivan.

Here's some text from Bell Phillips Architects:

ORIGAMI STAIR Camberwell, London

Bell Phillips architects have completed this dramatic stainless steel stair for a private client in South London.

The stair sits within a double-height hallway which is the centrepiece of a domestic refurbishment to an existing Victorian property that amalgamates two flats into a single duplex unit.

The stair has distinctive silhouette created from a complex geometry of folded triangular facets which appear to float effortlessly within the space. These facets are fabricated from 6mm stainless steel with a brushed finish selected to accentuate the light from the rooflight above. An elegant toughened glass balustrade completes the composition.

Bell Phillips architects are a dynamic practice based in South-East London that is committed to providing a highly professional service with the aim of generating elegant, appropriate and sensitive designs.

The practice has a rigorous and committed approach with a specific concern for the close integration of architecture with other disciplines to produce innovative, creative and cost-effective solutions that makes a positive impact on the quality of people’s lives, that is rooted to its context, and which is inspiring and uplifting.

The practice has recently been shortlisted for the Sustainable Housing Design Team of the Year in the Sustainable Housing Awards 2010.

Client: private
Architect: Bell Phillips Architects
Structural Engineer: Built Engineers
Contractor: ADD Construction
Steelwork fabricator: Protosheet
Completed: August 2010

See also:


Genetic Stair by
Caliper Studio
Fiat Lux by
Label Architecture
Live Wire by
Oyler Wu

Posted on Sunday August 15th 2010 at 12:51 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Felix

    er, no photo of the front of the stairs?

    It's clever but I wouldn't want something so angular in my home. They say it appears to 'float effortlessly within the space' but I disagree. The steel is too thick to achieve this effect; there is a feeling of illusion but to me it's an uncomfortable one of not being able to trust that the stairs won't fold underneath me. Also, origami never involves cutting.

  • Kristen

    It seems fragile but I know it’s strong. Nice. :)

  • Refract

    The folded plates as threads and risers make some structural sense but the detail for the glass balustrade is real generic and kinda awful. The lightness and thinness of the whole stairs has been compromised by those circular joints. A real pity as an interesting detail could have been designed to attach the glass using a folded system as well

  • Mert Yilmaz

    The folding of the plate steel makes perfect structural sense because it works as a stair without a secondary system of support. The connection between the plate steel and glass is generic, and thus does not require a builder to spend an extra week piecing together an overly complicated puzzle of flanges to support the glass which doubles the budget.

  • alex

    If you can invent that system you suggest you will become rich. In the meantime, the stainless 'buttons' are the best solution out there.
    I like the dynamic design and overall simplicity.

  • Phil

    Foget the stair… i like Mert's opening comment !!!

  • gaque

    i agree with refract actually. the circular joints simply don't match…its an important detail which adds an awkward pattern to the design. the glass balustrade definitely doesn't fit with the elegant stair.

  • bernard

    looks pretty ordinary to me.

  • edward

    From what I can see of the house, this stair is an unwanted intrusion. Good idea but wrong project.

  • Alexandra Campbell Interiors

    Fantastic profile. Wrong project.

  • Barbara Steinberg

    I'm with Mert and Alex. There's a pathetic mixture of nitpicking and sour grapes in these comments about an inventive and intelligent design solution. We should be more enthusiastic about freshness and originality.

  • A beautiful fresh treatment. Well done Bell Phillips!

  • steve

    Grow up kids..m you can all have a turn. Not judging the Nobel Prize here!

  • Zaedrus

    Spectacular! I’ll take two, please.

    I think it works well in this project: the room is fairly bland (despite it’s “style”) allowing the stair to shine as the centerpiece. Making the balustrade a glass sheet has the same effect.

    The connection to the glass may not be the best, but since I’m ordering two, I’d hate to go into debt for the custom connectors.


    Sounds like a scene from a university crit session. Guys at the architect's office, stop being so defensive. Its a good idea for the stairs but I agree that the joints somewhat dilute the whole scheme.

  • Art2Arch

    LOVE the stair concept! Glass support rail cool. How the metal "origami" attaches to wall needed more study…If you wanted it to "float" then it should have been detached from wall OR anchored to wall with steel "pin/pipe" connections from vertical folded plates so stair "appears" to float in space.

  • DouGuru

    Someone is going to bust their neck on that skateboard!

  • The silhouette view from the back is stunning, but , up close, cold, unforgiving, with the glass balcony looking like a departmental store escalator.

    Call me old fashioned, but wood always looks just looks right in a small space.