Carpenter Lowings Architecture & Design has completed the design for a stand-alone glass staircase and skylight in a private, two-floor apartment in Hong Kong
The staircase – a sculptural installation with an overall height of 5.5 metres – forms a focal point, acting as a vertical, unifying element in the interior design of the apartment, while the skylight offers an unobstructed view of the sky from within. When in a closed position, the skylight frame is invisible from the apartment below, creating a view of the sky which appears to double in width when seen reflected in two large structural glass screens partially enclosing the staircase.
The screens incorporate a vertical reflective pattern – printed inside the glass – to evoke the depth of light created by falling rain. They act as a work of art inside the apartment and create a unique focus. Glass for the stair structure was laboratory-tested to comply with the Hong Kong building regulations, and calculations were required to prove that the building frame could sustain the loads despite the stair's apparent weightlessness.
Luke Lowings, of Carpenter Lowings Architecture & Design says: "This staircase acts as a discrete and subtle sculptural element in its own right. It is both aesthetic – providing a strong visual focus for residents and visitors – and practical – modulating daylight to reduce the harsh glare and intense heat of the Hong Kong climate. The design demonstrates how significant amounts of natural light can be brought into small, relatively compact spaces and transform them into bright, welcoming areas. The staircase's apparent weightlessness also helps to create the impression of a floating, ethereal structure rather than one which dominates the living areas."