The most incredible staircase of this century

Nothing like traveling to London to do business and (at the same time) enjoy of the holidays, especially in a spiral staircase.

The Staircase

Hi, do you know this time of the year that you want to take a break but, by the contrary, you have to manage more business? I, Rodolfo, I don’t know, of course, but as I have many friends that have experienced it, I venture to give you a little advice: mounted an office in London, you’ll discover the two things. If you have already decided to mount an office, I recommend a great place, whose idea is the fusion of the art and the commerce, as well, and also has the most incredible staircase that has been created in this century. 

But, as usual, an interlude. When we speak of rehabilitation or reform, I remember a story that I heard long ago (or read), from the first light bulb created. Thomas Alva Edison completed his first bulb and he put it in the hands of his assistant, Jimmy Price, he has to move the bulb to the second floor. The guy broke it, but Edison, circumspect (I imagine), not chastised at the assistant, on the contrary, when he finished his second bulb, he returned to hand over to his assistant, had a second chance. The same thing happens when we reform a building: we give a second chance.

Renovated building in London’s Soho

London is the city of the international business, but is also a cosmopolitan city that wears its charm with pride. In the Soho, specifically in the number 178 of Wardour Street, corner with Hollen Street, was inaugurated in the last April, one of those obsolete buildings, which have been given a second chance. This opportunity were gave by the Resolution Property real estate team, whose area of activity is the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, and whose vision of the sector is very different from the classic, and now more that have been associated with the Peterson HK Group, with they will reach Canada and Hong Kong. They saw the potential of this building and wanted to give it an added value.

They counted with a large group of professionals of different branches and different international experiences (of course), I will not tell you which of them have work thanks to my (you know my eternal humility). The building, renamed to Ampersand Building, or simply Ampersand, has been remodelled to include the luxury residences and offices of high level, which will accommodate professional applications, telecommunications, corporate, technological applications and everything you can imagine, in total, 6.169 square meters of floor space. 

Inside the building with an impressive skylight above

They called to the Darling Associates architecture Studio (lovers of its work, clear), with offices in London, Poland and the United Arab Emirates, who knew how to anticipate its customer’s needs. His work has been to improve the facades and redistribute the inside, giving a new entrance at the corner of Wardour Street and Hollen Street, and enhancing the figure of reception areas, both for the users of the residential area as for the shopping areas. A huge skylight has become in the main focus of lighting in the interior of the building, whose effect has been multiplied by converting all the walls of the courtyard to transparent (using the glass, of course).  

In the top floor, a roof gable covers the 10 new luxury duplex (can you imagine working and living in this building? No? Read on…). The building has four floors of offices accompanied by a terrace of 195 square meters, with a few vertical gardens that give a welcoming atmosphere. Outside, a huge glass panel covers the corner chamfer, coated with copper fins (this will like to my cousin), as well as the windows, and with a game of volumes that gives life to the facade.

Terrace Building

Another of the architects of this wonder is Tom Hingston, graphic designer, he has worked to brands such as Dior, McQueen or Lancome, or groups such as The Rolling Stone, U2 and Robbie Williams. He was the creator of the (fantastic) logo, which you’ll see developed when you enter in the lobby: in the centre, a sculpture of seven meters long, built with brass and wood, is will extending, being inscribed on it the reception, and even in the concrete on the floor and the walls, these «threads» or recesses and projections created in different materials , make up the logo of the building.

But not content with this, the good Tom had designed a giant canvas, 115 by 15 meters, which is equivalent to four courts of basketball (NBA) and it took seven days in to place in front of the old façade (has a perimeter of 316 meters, is sectioned into two parts and weighs in total 850 kilos), to cover the works of remodelling, at the same time giving publicity in a dark background… that ready! The company that built it and installed, Embrace Building Wraps, tells us which was the wrap most important in the United Kingdom in the time to do so.

Building lobby

If you are not convinced of invest in this building, now yes, we got to the best (at least for me), and it’s the collaboration of Paul Cocksedge, a designer of international renown, which has worked for Swarovski, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Hermes or Sony. He had to make the staircase, and put hands to work, thinking and designing 984 hours of his life (someday I will know as counted the hours), as he says in his video, soon knew that he wanted a staircase live (he called the living staircase), and he designed it so that it could enjoy it during the journey and after of the journey. To achieve this he did three things: the stair shaft was eliminated and introduced a recreation areas, placed a large number of plants around the perimeter, and reduced the width of the staircase to the minimum. 

The numbers are the following: the staircase covers four floors of the building, with a total of 87 steps, has a diameter of 5.5 meters and a height of 12.5; the main structure is made of steel in different sections (to be able to introduce it out of the window) and welded on-site, its weight total is 12.4 tons; the planters of the balustrade are designed to withstand 593 plants; total weight, including the balustrade, is 15.8 tons, to this should add 3.2 tons of white oak paneling, I love the wood!.

The Staircase

Paul was helped by another acquaintance, the Arup engineering company (already know, that of the infinity edge pool), they were responsible of the calculation and dimensioning, the construction had another great professional, Peter Dann. As I have already said, all the staircase is covered with white oak, brought directly from New York, a very good wood with quality for our coatings since it has an excellent hardness and durability. In addition, in this case, has the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, with it is controlled that the forest from which is extracted is managed with environmental, social and economic standards. Using this certification we avoid the illegal logging, the violation of human rights, the use of child labour, and other unpleasant elements.

The detail is in the design, so finally, I must do mention of the lamp that hangs on the first floor of the staircase, the creation of another famous artist: Ingo Maurer, who shows us with an exclusive design of its signature, the lamp Zettelz-6, a new way to give light to our lives. As you can see, I not lied when I said that Ampersand had gathered a large group of professionals… and artists! Bye bye. 

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