Louis Vuitton Ngee Ann City Staircase / 2009

DesignerFront Inc

Structural EngineerFront Inc

This custom staircase, designed and engineered by Front for the Louis Vuitton Ngee Ann City store in Singapore, is the centerpiece of the store, creating a unique place-specific identity for this retail location. The self-supported spiral stair features a curving steel inner structural ribbon stringer and floating stair treads that taper, narrowing in thickness toward the perimeter and seemingly defying gravity and the weight of their stone material. The void at the center of the spiral stair is volumetrically filled with a hanging, hand-blown, glass sculpture that additionally contributes to the sense of weightlessness of the space. A glass balustrade wraps the exterior of the stairs and provides additional torsional stability to the system.

The stone stair treads appear solid yet are actually stone composite on a steel frame, which reduces their cantilevered weight. The ribbon stringer is fabricated from a rolled steel plate and features a custom patina finish. The balustrade is composed of 0.6 in (15 mm) curved tempered low-iron glass panels with a leather-clad handrail cap at the top. Front worked on the design and engineering of all components of this system from initial concept through construction administration.