James Irvine

Milano, 2008-2009

Painted steel and glass

The staircase is the object that has always accompanied the rise of any work of architecture; the sequence of horizontal lines formed by the steps determines the relationship, the connection, between the construction and the host terrain, and corresponds to the height of the overall construction. The staircase is directly associated with the act of ascent, and the shape of the ramp, its organization and fragmentation with intermediate landings, makes it possible to perceive the space of any work of architecture and its vertical development. Clearly the technical, constructive and quantitative aspects of staircases are associated with a symbolic value capable of generating a theory of architectural space conceived as a vertical tracking shot. Gustave Flaubert, in his satirical Dictionary of AcceptedIdeas ( 1850-1880, published in 1913), defined architects as “all idiots; they always forget to put staircases in houses,” underlining the fact that without stairs spaces seem incomplete and lifeless. The staircase designed by James Irvine for the Isaia store in Milan and produced by Marzorati Ronchetti in painted steel and glass emphasizes the rise of the vertical space while remaining an independent feature. Intentionally detached from the nearby walls, the staircase is conceived as a continuous sequence of horizontal surfaces, held together by a central block to form a continuous structure, a ribbon on which to walk, essential in its overall geometry and shape.

All works