stairs

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Art Design

SpaceWalk: A Spectacular Rollercoaster-Esque Staircase Loops Through a South Korean Park

January 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth

Towering 70-meters above ground at its highest point, “SpaceWalk” is the latest undulating sculpture by Hamburg-based artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth. The monumental staircase winds in loops and elevations similar to that of a rollercoaster throughout Hwanho Park in Pohang, South Korea, and is almost entirely accessible for pedestrians except for the innermost circuit. It’s the largest contemporary public sculpture ever installed in the country.

A follow-up to the pair’s 2011 project “Tiger & Turtle – Magic Mountain” in Duisburg, Germany, “SpaceWalk” is built of galvanized and stainless steels atop a cement foundation and embedded rows of LED lights. “At night in particular, the brightly-illuminated walkway appears like a sigil drawn in the sky, appearing to represent different things depending on where one is standing,” Mutter and Genth say. “Thus, the sculpture also references local mythology and a tradition of sky-gazing and also makes playful use of relativity.”

Pedestrians enter the work at a central staircase, which breaks into two paths: one gently sloped walkway leads to a view of Yeongil Bay and the surrounding city, while the other is a steeper climb through a helix. Both are designed to mimic an otherworldly experience. “The title ‘SpaceWalk’ is taken from the terminology of outer space missions. It describes the act of exiting the space vehicle in the weightlessness of outer space. More literally, ‘SpaceWalk’ can be understood to mean ‘a walk through space,'” they say.

For more of the duo’s architectural projects, head to their site. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Art

A Spectacular Staircase by Alex Chinneck Uncoils as It Scales a 25-Meter Building in Brighton

December 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Alex Chinneck, by Marc Wilmont, shared with permission

Part walkway and part dramatic sculpture, an outdoor staircase by Alex Chinneck unfurls into individual metallic ribbons as it climbs a brick building in Brighton. The latest work by the British artist, titled “A Spring in Your Step,” is made of galvanized steel and features a base with slatted rungs that gradually unwind into a trio of strips splaying outward over Circus Square.

Chinneck is known for his surreal architectural interventions—these include melting facades, a condemned building that unzips, and twisting red post boxes—that upend ubiquitous designs in favor of bizarre counterparts. He shares about the new piece: “’A Spring in Your Step’ took three years to complete, weighs four tonnes, is 25 meters tall, and follows a non-repeating, expanding, and contracting helical form, making it my most complex sculpture to date.”

Head to the artist’s Instagram to see the three-year process behind the spectacular sculpture and to explore a larger collection of his works.

 

 

 



Art

A ‘Staircase to Heaven’ Installation Ascends into the Sky as a Trippy Optical Illusion

November 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Strijdom van der Merwe, shared with permission

South African artist Strijdom van der Merwe’s deceptive “Staircase to Heaven” sculpture is designed to make you wonder. When viewed straight on, the towering optical illusion appears to ascend into the sky at an incline, although the 4.5-meter-tall work actually lies on a flat plane. Van der Merwe partnered with Taiwanese artist Chou Sheng-hsien to create the trippy sculpture for the Nanhui Art Project in Taiwan, which commissioned 14 public works to be installed throughout Taitung County.

Built with steel square tubing that weighs about 240 kilograms, “Staircase to Heaven” is modeled after van der Merwe’s 2016 project, “Sculptures on the Cliff.” For more of the artist’s site-specific works and sprawling land art, check out his site. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

13 Staircases Blanketed with Prismatic Murals Evocative of Andean Textiles Run Through Lima’s Hills

October 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Jeremy Flores, © Xomatok, shared with permission

Artist Xomatok (previously) translates the vibrant, geometric motifs of handwoven Andean blankets, or llicllas, into large-scale works that mark the pathways through the hilly Alisos de Amauta neighborhood in Lima, Peru. Painted during the course of two months as part of the Municipality of Lima’s Pinta Lima Bicentenario, the 13 interventions were a collaborative undertaking by the artist and local residents, who transformed the public staircases that wind through the district into multi-level canvases. The resulting patterns are kaleidoscopic and highlight a spectrum of bright colors and symmetries often associated with the traditional textiles. In a note to Colossal, Xomatok says community members will add to the project as a way to continue celebrating their cultural history, and you can take an aerial tour of the finished pieces on the artist’s Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

A Vibrant, Geometric Rug Cascades Down a Staircase in a New Mural by Jessie and Katey

August 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jessie and Katey, shared with permission. By Shauna Caldwell

To create the brightly colored textile that cloaks a three-level staircase on the Appalachian State University campus, artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn (previously) imagined the concrete steps as a massive loom. They drew grids on the outdoor structure to map out where each individual strip would start, end, and intersect with the larger geometric forms. “There was a lot of math involved, getting the angles and perspective right was a challenge but eventually everything locked into place,” the Baltimore-based duo, who are known as Jessie and Katey, shares with Colossal.

Evoking the quilts and other textiles that are traditional to Appalachia, the large-scale artwork is composed of vivid gradients layered into a complex web of stripes and woven patches. Neutral-toned tassels line the angled edge at the bottom of the staircase, giving the flat mural the appearance of a rug.

This public artwork is just one Jessie and Katey have undertaken in recent months. Many of their projects that were postponed due to COVID-19 are reconvening, bringing the pair to Las Vegas, Washington D.C., and a few spots in North Carolina. Although the actual painting process is solitary, Jessie and Katey say they’ve enjoyed seeing how people are experiencing outdoor art since the onset of the pandemic. “It’s really rewarding watching the work get embraced by the public. People get really creative with it, and murals end up becoming a part of the community,” they say.

To see where the duo is headed next, follow them on Instagram, and check out the prints available in their shop.

 

 

 



Design

A Massive Faux Staircase Punctuates A Glass-Sided Home Before Flowing into an Outdoor Garden

April 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

The design team at Nendo knew they’d need a way to connect the three generations—and eight cats—living inside a newly constructed home in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, so they created an enormous staircase. Spanning from the outdoor garden to the third floor, the steel-and-concrete structure isn’t designed for climbing between floors but does serve as a multi-level garden area and space for the cats to lounge. It also conceals bathrooms and the staircase residents actually will use, while the white-paneled walls hold additional storage.

Aptly named Stairway House, the interruptive project juxtaposes connection and separation within one home, the design studio said in a statement.

A stairway and greenery gently connected the upper and lower floors along a diagonal line, creating a space where all three generations could take comfort in each other’s subtle presence. Not only does the stairway connect the interior to the yard, or bond one household to another, this structure aims to expand further out to join the environs and the city —connecting the road that extends southward on the ground level, and out into skylight through the toplight.

While a white facade masks the front of the house, the back is covered in windows that face the mature persimmon tree preserved on the property. For more of Nendo’s disruptive architecture, head to Instagram. (via Dezeen)