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?
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.
‘The Living Staircase is actually a combination of staircase and room, of movement and stillness, vertical and horizontal’, Paul Cocksedge explains. ‘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.’Location: Soho, London Architect: Paul Cocksedge Studio Project name: The Living Staircase