dRMM to install Escher-style staircase
outside St Paul's Cathedral

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News: architecture firm dRMM will install 20 interlocking wooden staircases outside St Paul's Cathedral for the London Design Festival in September. Update: the Endless Stair will now be constructed outside Tate Modern.

Unveiled this morning at the London Design Festival 2013 press preview, the design comprises a complex configuration of steps to be made from 44 cubic metres of tulipwood. Visitors will be invited to climb the structure and use it as a viewpoint towards the River Thames, Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern.

"Endless Stair is a three-dimensional exercise in composition, structure and scale," said dRMM co-founder Alex de Rijke. "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."

The structure will be made of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels, which are usually created by layering up softwoods to form cheap and stable panels for fast construction. This installation will instead use a sustainable hardwood - tulipwood - to form lighter and stronger hardwood CLT panels for the first time.

The Endless Stair will be created in association with the American Hardwood Export Council and engineered by Arup. A lighting scheme for the spot will be developed by London studio Seam Design using products from LED company Lumenpulse.

The same team delivered Amanda Levete's Timber Wave installation outside the V&A museum for the 2011 London Design Festival. The American Hardwood Export Council worked with Royal College of Art students on twelve wooden chairs at last year's festival.

Alex de Rijke is dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. Previous architecture projects by dRMM include a golden wedding chapel by the seaside and a house with mobile walls and roof.

The London Design Festival 2013 takes place from 14 to 22 September. See more design events taking place throughout the year on our World Design Guide.

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  • Chris Hall

    It’s an eyesore!