Spiral Staircase for Trees

June 30, 2015 by


Tapping into nostalgic childhood memories of treehouses and summer days exploring, climbing, and trespassing, 2015 Royal College of Art graduates Thor ter Kulve and Rob McIntyre conceived of CanopyStair,staircase which wraps around a tree trunk to offer an unobscured view from above.



Drawing inspiration from small aircraft engineering techniques, the designers conceived of CanopyStair as a modular system of wooden steps and platforms which together form a lightweight staircase for trees that’s easily and quickly assembled without tools.


Designed so it will not damage or disturb the tree, CanopyStair is composed of a cast aluminium tripod frame, lightweight tread, handrail, and a ratchet strap that quickly fastens the step into place.


The idea came to the designers during time they spent last year in a house in the Azores. A tall stone wall surrounding their house obstructed the view of the ocean. The only way to catch a glimpse of the sea was to climb a tree. Their tree climbing led them to discuss how to transform a garden tree into a staircase to easily access the view from the treetop.


Of CanopyStair’s unobtrusive access to otherwise obscured views, the designers said they felt that they had unlocked a gate to a secret garden, a passageway to a secluded habitat. “Forest canopy is the least explored ecosystem on earth,” they said, “a cloud of life.”

H/T Dezeen. Photos via the designers.




1 Comment »

  1. Alan Thompson said:

    I would expect that the ratchet straps will begin to girdle the tree and have a detrimental effect on the tree’s health. Xylem & phloem conducting vessels are likely to become constricted.
    Hopefully this has been taken into consideration by the designer and I would be proved wrong.

    — February 26, 2016 @ 05:43

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