Endless Stair climbs into production phase as project location is moved to Tate Modern, Bankside

The Endless Stair, landmark project for this year’s London Design Festival, will be sited on the lawn in front of the world‐renowned Tate Modern.  Starting from a fantasy Esher‐inspired drawing utilising, for the first time, tulipwood cross‐laminated timber (CLT), dRMM and Arup have worked with specialist teams in Italy and Switzerland to research and test the strength of the material and develop the design to allow public access to the structure.

Endless Stair climbs into production phase as project location is moved to Tate Modern, Bankside

Render of Endless Stair Credit: Cityscape

In Italy, Imola Legno, a long‐established family owned timber specialist, has been making the CLT panels in its factory, one of the most ‘green’ in the country.  To produce the cross‐laminated timber, Imola Legno cuts, planes and finger‐joints the American tulipwood lumber and assembles the timber into sheets. Three of these sheets are subsequently glued together into a sandwich to make one CLT panel.

Nüssli, an international company specialising in temporary, permanent and modular structures, has been commissioned to construct the installation. Nüssli has previously worked on numerous projects, such as the London 2012 Olympics and other large global events, and is currently constructing a ‘test flight’ of Endless Stair at its Swiss headquarters.

Once all the panels arrive from Italy, Nüssli will build all the flights, complete with their balustrades, non‐slip nosings and other elements. After some further testing, Nüssli will load the pre‐fabricated panels onto four trucks at the beginning of September, to start the final journey from Zurich to London. Between six and eight Nüssli carpenters, will erect and fix the stair, using a telescopic forklift, to lift the elements into place. The striking installation will be ready to open to the public on 13 September. With the highest step 7.7m above the ground, visitors will be at approximately the height of a three‐storey building, providing an opportunity to experience both Tate Modern and the river from a unique setting. Endless Stair will offer an additional complementary interactive experience to an already vibrant cultural area.

The staircase will be closed at dusk each day. By night, the installation will be artistically bathed in a lighting scheme by Seam Design using luminaires provided by Lumenpulse.

ENDLESS STAIR FACTS

There is a total of 11.4 tonnes of tulipwood in the Endless Stair, but none of it will be wasted. The project has been designed to be reconfigured and re‐used.

Cross‐laminated timber is an increasingly popular construction material. It is normally made from softwood. This pioneering use of hardwood cross‐laminated timber reduces the amount of material needed and the thickness of the elements.

The total length of all the panels in the endless stairs is 436m – equivalent to 4.5 times the height of Big Ben.

The Endless Stair has a total of 187 steps. The shortest route to the top is 48 steps.

Arup estimates that a maximum of 93 people will be on the Endless Stair at any one time.

Endless Stair will be open to the public from 13 September – 10 October, located on the riverside of Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG

Opening Hours:

13 September ‐ 10 October Monday – Sunday 9am‐dusk

READ MORE about events at  Bankside here: Sud de France

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