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Endless Stair, London, UK

Issue 76 December/January 2014

‘Endless Stair’ is a wooden folly dedicated to uniting composition and social possibilities. Lighting design firm SEAM worked with Lumenpulse to bring the sculpture to life at night.

M.C. Escher’s lithograph world of countless stairways is a land without gravity, where people can ascend steps cemented to the ceiling without any threat to their wellbeing. The Dutch artist’s topsy-turvy creations proved perfect inspiration for London-based dRMM Architects and Arup who were commissioned by the London Design Festival, in partnership with the American Hardwood Export Council, to create ‘Endless Stair’.

The work is comprised of fifteen interlocking staircases formed from 187 steps and a series of reconfigurable walkways leading to a dramatic viewing platform looking towards St Pauls and the City, the jagged staircases jutting out here and there, bringing Escher’s world into our much more rooted reality.

To create a striking night-time appearance for the work, London based lighting design practice SEAM used Lumenpulse’s innovative Lumenbeam and Lumenfacade, which provided the right mix of durability and performance, while remaining small enough to conceal. A 2700K colour temperature was chosen to enhance the warmth of the wood, while narrow 10° optics highlight important details on the artwork and limit glare.

DMX technology was also utilised on the project, affording individual control of segments of fixtures. This allowed for sequencing and the creation of a choreography of light that visually recomposes and reconfigures the sculpture at night, living up to the Escheresque design spirit within the project.

“LED technology with DMX control capability was always our first choice for the Endless Stair,” comments Marci Song, the director at SEAM. “The durability and flexibility of the Lumenpulse luminaires proved to be the perfect solution for this reconfigurable, outdoor installation. We’re very happy with the way the design turned out, and we couldn’t be more delighted by the public’s reaction.”

A sustainable approach was taken towards the installation and the LED fixtures used in the project are being re-used for educational lighting and architecture events now the festival has concluded.

With its unique night-time identity ‘Endless Stair’ is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, offering a memorable climb to an inspiring view.


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