Interloop: repurposing historic wooden-stepped escalators

Contemporary escalators are commonly made of aluminium or steel, but this has not always been the case. With a work called Interloop, Australian artist and sculptor Chris Fox created a hovering sculpture that loops together 2 historic pairs of escalators, made from wood.

The escalators, with treads made from hardwood, come from Wynyard Station in Australia, built in 1931. They have worked for over 80 years and have only recently been removed. The sculpture loops together 2 pairs or reconfigured heritage escalators, measuring more than 50 metres (164 feet) in length and incorporating 244 wooden treads. The work weighs over 5 tonnes (5.5 US tons).

Interloop took 6 months to design and engineer and 12 weeks to fabricate with over a kilometre (0.6 miles) of welding. Interloop is built from high strength marine grade aluminium and suspended from steel beams installed into Wynyard Station. The wooden treads from the original escalators have been refastened to the accordion-like aluminium surface.

“Connecting yesterday and tomorrow, Interloop interrogates the conceptual and material boundaries between art and architecture,” Fox commented. By repurposing the wooden steps, the sculpture aims to evoke memories of passengers and modes of travel from the past while conjuring complimentary ideas of journey and travel, start and finish, here and there, as well as past and future.

The sculpture hangs above the modern escalators linking York Street to the main concourse level of Wynyard Station.

Photos: Josh Raymond