Helix is a half-scale spiral stair created by Matter design studio . While a reduced size resolves a number of practical concerns—weight, liability, access—the piece celebrates its impracticality. It is both column and stair, yet hangs from the ceiling. Its uncertainty and changed scale inject playful characteristics into the surrounding space, while maintaining an allegiance to the past and known. Helix will be exhibiting at this years Design Biennial Boston.
Each tread of the stair is cast in a fully encapsulated custom mold. These molds are rubber with a solid wood mother-mold to clamp the assembly together. The molds are vibrated rigorously during the pouring process and then immediately steamed for twelve hours to cure.
The entire stair assembly hangs from a beam two stories tall. This beam then drops down a threaded rod to a base that serves as a pendulum balance. Each tread is designed to hook over this threaded rod and be bolted down to its neighbor below. The geometry of these treads lock into each other with a series of three-dimensional keys that reduce any shear or slipping between units. Typically a stone spiral stair is held from the perimeter. In this case, the stair is compressed in the column to ensure stability.