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Folded copper staircase

An innovative copper clad staircase has pushed the envelope for interior design. Engineered by Arup, the zigzagging stairs in a Spanish villa are covered with around 200m² of panelling.

The most remarkable aspect about the stairs is that they appear to be made of perforated continuous folded copper without visible fixings.

The material is a composite, consisting of a layer of treated copper, similar to this material, which is bonded to structural timber.

The composite panel is a custom design which was specifically designed for this luxury project. It comprises approximately 12,000 perforations, each of which is unique and made by a CNC water-jet cutter.

Arup was asked to help finish the monumental staircase in a sprawling villa on the Spanish south coast, designed by Studio Mishin Architectural Bureau. The house featured a green gabion, or central and semi-open area filled with plants. This design idea was continued in the staircase.

The resulting sculptural piece is a 3D, water-cut design with holes of various sizes and shapes. In some places, both the copper and timber are cut, while in others only the copper is perforated.

Jan Wurm, Arup’s materials practice leader for Europe, explains: “The installation is sequenced in such a way that the structural panels interlock with each other and a delicate substructure to minimise visible connections.”

The design includes a lighting scheme, using both fibre optics and led technology to reduce the need for access and maintenance. The stairs stretch over three floors and are designed to provide a visual link between the various floors and halls of the house, letting through some of the light from outside too.

Images are © Quintin Lake.