Windows, Doors, Staircases


Fontanot and IED Milano develop an "Impossible staircase"

An authentically “impossible” staircase is the result of a collaboration between Fontanot and the Master course in Interior of the IED Institute of Milan, making its debut at the “Innovation” space of the BAU fair in Munich – from 16th to 21st of January –, one of the first international architecture events of this year.

Starting off from a precise briefing and coordinated by the architect and professor Marco Vantusso, the students took part in this training project with the participation of Laura Fontanot, Marketing Manager, and Enzo Fontanot, founder of the first company to turn the staircase into an industrial product.

Numerous ideas have emerged out of the contest, strongly pursued to give a breath of fresh air to the staircase as a commodity, which, due to structural reasons, demands special attentions during the design stage.

The winning model, “The impossible staircase”, is characterized by a spiral structure with the usual central tubular frame and a series of spaced-out steps made of transparent plexiglass. Yet the uniqueness of its design stays in the outer part, where a sequence of thin wooden vertical elements with metal strips creates a cylindric covering which embraces the whole staircase. Having a top-down development, these lines get in touch with the step to gradually join up with the central part. The covering’s components are both aesthetically and structurally functional, as they support the outer frame of each step. Due to the transparent material of the steps, the whole staircase appears almost invisible, and the only element that stands out is the covering, by which the user get to be surrounded.

Thanks to its smooth and slender design, the structure is perceived as something being lifted and fluctuating, thus creating an illusion on the observer.