Waves of wood form staircase at SDM Apartment
by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop

Continuous wooden elements create treads in both upper and lower sections of this U-shaped staircase at a Mumbai apartment by Mexican studio Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop

Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop formed the sculptural staircase to join two levels of an apartment, located in a six-storey building that houses different generations of one family.

"Our client wanted this space to have a big sculpture," Fabio Correa of Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop
 told Dezeen. "It is the centre of the whole apartment, but we also needed space for the staircase so we thought of a staircase that would actually be the sculpture."

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop

"Our client liked the idea, so we worked out a stylish way to develop it in a limited area," he explained.

Situated in front of a double-height window, the three-sided design features open treads to allow light to permeate the structure and fill the apartment.

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop

Treads of engineered walnut that form the bottom portion of the staircase swoop up as continuous elements to also create the steps at the top.

The first three treads sit independently from each other and the rest of the structure, standing like a set of benches with curved corners that are each taller and narrower than the one before.

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop
Development model

Step number four touches the ground on one side, then runs horizontally before bending up and extending the height of the void to form the final step in the set before the upstairs landing.

As the staircase rises, the steps gradually get narrower and the connecting sections become less steep.

Treads that run between two small landings beside the window are sandwiched by a pair of sloping wooden pieces.

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop
Development model

The wood is formed around a metal structure that is anchored to the walls that enclose the staircase on both sides.

Vertical steel cables that help support the upper portion of the structure also form a balustrade.

A number of drawings and models were used to develop and refine the custom design, which was built by a local craftsman.

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop
Development rendering

"India, like Mexico, still has great handcraft labour, so customised pieces like this are very possible and we are  working like this on a daily basis," Correa said.

The stairs can be viewed from most of the downstairs rooms, so other materials in the apartment, including Arabescato marble flooring and wooden panelling, were chosen to complement and contrast with the walnut wood.

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop
Development rendering

"It is located in the main centre of the whole apartment, so you can see it from anywhere you stand," said Correa. "It really works and our client at the end didn't need to purchase a sculpture from a gallery."

SDM Apartment by Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop
Development rendering

Photography is by Bharath Ramamrutham.

  • mik

    Very beautiful! But not yet perfect :)

    • 8mismo

      None of the shots show how the designer resolved the middle portion. In the development models, the beginning and end have an proportional elegance and a formal relationship which the middle doesn’t share. Regardless, I like the idea.

      • Mick
        • 8mismo

          Thank you for sharing. I find this design inspirational. There were probably constraints I am not aware of, but I offer the following criticisms:

          The black suspension cables up top are breaking up the continuity of the form. Perhaps if they were white or even metallic they would not be so disruptive.

          It would be even better if they weren’t necessary at all, and instead if the stairs were supported from the bottom and a handrail swooped down for safety.

          The mini staircase which leads up to the second flight looks tacked on. Maybe it would be better if the flights transitioned into a central flat platform rather than having a mini staircase within a staircase. One of the paper models seems to reflect this concept.

  • Lauren

    If you don’t like children, install this staircase.

  • Designer

    @lauren If you don’t like design, visit another website.

    • Lauren

      I should probably mention that I have a staircase like this in my house ;) You need to calm down Designer.

      It is a fantastic design, but it looks slightly hazardous.

  • Romain_M

    It does generate an interesting negative-space. However, the paper models seem to show a better relationship between the staircase and the windows.

  • nina

    It is so beautiful, but aren’t the steps at the top dangerous? They are curved at the end and also wooden. It can be slippery!

    • greenish

      There is definitely a handrail there.

  • Heatherwicked

    Heatherwick’s Longchamp?! Shameless.

    • Dennis

      Don’t get too excited… Heatherwick probably copied the design from somewhere else. Olympics ring a bell?

      • Romain_M

        Wow… looks like Heatherwick has yet to address his huge PR problem.

  • Cinema Forever

    Or if you don’t like drinking alcohol.

  • Julie G

    Well it’s beautiful, but the functionality is lacking. Maybe they don’t have building codes in Mumbai? Or maybe one of the floors’ residents isn’t too fond of the generations that live on the other floors.

  • tsh

    Beautiful staircase. One which you wouldn’t want to fall down, but probably could quite easily.

  • Mom

    I have children. They’re pretty cool, I love ’em. I’d install it. Maybe my kids are more cautious than others. They don’t stick things in their noses. They stand at the top of the stairs and lean forward. They stop, look, and figure things out.

    My boys would love this. It’s beautiful.

  • It’s beautiful and fine – the codes that require handrails of ever-increasing heights and densities are absurd. They assume, ipso facto, that every human is a helpless idiot that must be protected from every possible eventuality. Does anyone remember granny’s basement stair with its 5’2″ clearance? You only hit your head the first time.

    • fabio

      I totally agree, it was fun to design it and a challenge.

  • alston nobel

    Really amazing, cool designs.

  • Abbie

    Is this the best staircase on Dezeen? I think so.

  • Eddie Sampaio

    It may be sculptural but not comfortable.