Stairs? Yea, They’re Lovely… Until You Have To Design Them

I’m a classic stair avoider. Always have been. 

I much prefer the lift (plus the mirror always provides a very welcome opportunity to ‘touch up’), but the sight of a well constructed, visually pleasing and elegant staircase will always catch my eye. Having to build a 3D model of a staircase for the current module of my Degree course has been… interesting to say the least. I’m now very familiar with terms like ‘going’, ‘nosing’, ‘riser’, ‘pitch’ and ‘run’, in addition to the many building regulations (UK) that must be adhered to when constructing a staircase. For anyone interested, this Governmental Planning Portal document is extremely informative for such things.

I wasn’t required to actually build a 3D model but for spatial planning purposes I took the plunge – devising furniture layouts, traffic flow and circulation on a piece of paper is one thing, but seeing a proposed space three dimensionally is a completely different story. It’s amazing, inspiring and a designer’s joy. Don’t get me started on the subject of 3D visualisation; I could talk about its brilliance all night. It also provided me with an opportunity to further develop my 3D modelling skills.

To put this space into context; it’s a Georgian property located in Nottingham and I’ve been tasked with the responsibility of redesigning the interior for commercial use. My intention is to produce a design scheme that embraces the history of the building by combining Georgian with contemporary styling, whilst injecting an overall industrial/loft style interior (the building is located in the Lace Market of Nottingham, which has deep rooted links with the manufacturing industry). Off the top of my head I’m thinking concrete, exposed brick, factory-inspired pendant lighting, and statement office furniture. As my inspiration for the scheme develops I will undoubtedly keep all of you updated.

County House High Pavement

The first nod to Georgian period styling is unquestionably the traditional staircase – I have chosen mahogany (popular in this era) and turned balustrades.  And this is basically where the Georgian influence begins and ends within this scheme. The staircase has been positioned according to the floor plan and because this is a Grade II listed building I had to comply with the original dimensions and structure (bummer). At first I cursed the location of the sash window, however now that I’ve rendered the 3D model the light streaming through has cast some amazing shadows and highlights. It really does highlight the various organic shapes and angles of this staircase beautifully. This 3D model is still a work in progress – the handrails on the wall of the second flight need to be positioned and a few finishing touches need to be added. But I’m quite pleased with the overall look.  Self-taught in the use of Google Sketchup and Maxwell Render – I’m so proud of myself!

High Pavement Stairs 1

High Pavement Stairs 2

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