The Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge

This spiral staircase conceived by London designer Paul Cocksedge will feature balustrades overflowing with plants and circular spaces where employees can take time out from their work.

The Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge

Paul Cocksedge designed The Living Staircase for Ampersand, a new office building in London's Soho dedicated to creative businesses.

The Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge

The design concept is for a staircase that is about "more than a means of moving from floor to floor". By widening the diameter of the spiral and excluding the central column, there will be enough space to create three circular platforms that can be used as social spaces.

The Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge

"The Living Staircase is actually a combination of staircase and room, of movement and stillness, vertical and horizontal", said Cocksedge.

The Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge

"At every turn there is an opportunity to stop and look, smell, read, write, talk, meet, think, and rest. 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

Plants and herbs will be sown into the tops of the balustrade. The hope is that employees will turn the greenery into a working garden, adding ingredients to their lunches and making fresh mint tea.

The Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge

Here's a project description from Paul Cocksedge Studio:


The Living Staircase

Paul Cocksedge has been commissioned by Resolution Property to design a central feature for Ampersand, the state-of-the-art creative office development in Soho, London.

At the project's heart are the people who make up the Ampersand community and so the question was: how can a staircase become something more than a means of moving from floor to floor?

The Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge
Concept diagram

By examining the structure of a staircase, it was discovered that by expanding the diameter and by removing the traditional central, load-bearing pillar, a new hidden space was revealed at its centre. As you emerge onto each floor, you can now enter the centre of the spiral and into social spaces devoted to a specific activity: a place to draw, to read a novel, 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 merely decoration, but envisaged as a working garden, each plant cared for by individual members of the community.