In collaboration with Rob McIntyre

The Canopystair is a modular system of steps that can be attached without tools to form a spiral staircase around a tree trunk, allowing one to walk up into the canopy above. Lightweight and quick to assemble, The Canopystair has been carefully designed not to damage or mark the tree in any way.
The Canopystair was conceived in 2015 when Robert McIntyre and I spent time in the Azores. The house where we were staying was near the seashore, a tall stone wall that surrounded the house cut off any view of it. Only by climbing a tree in the garden could we watch the sun setting across the ocean, and so we began to discuss ways of transforming a garden tree into a staircase, thus allowing us to walk and up and down easily and enjoy the view.
During our final year at the RCA studying on the Design Products postgraduate program, we developed this concept and began to experiment with various prototypes. Testing out the Canopystair we realised that what we had created was something rather special, much more than just a means to a view. It felt that we had unlocked a gate to a secret garden and made a passageway to a secluded habitat. The forest canopy is the least explored ecosystem on earth, a cloud of life that we could now access unobtrusively.

Aluminium, aeroply, rubber, polyurethane, nylon, stainless steel, birch ply, ash, high density poly ethylene

W 820mm x D 420mm x H 240mm


Photography by Tony McIntyre