Students design leisurely way into tree canopy

Two London design students have created a modular system of steps that can be attached without tools to form a spiral staircase around a tree trunk.


CanopyStair, designed by Thor ter Kulve and Rob McIntyre, features at this year's Royal College of Art final show, within the courtyard of its Kensington campus. The show opened yesterday (25 June) and runs until 5 July.

The system is lightweight and quick to assemble, and has been designed not to damage or mark the tree in any way, the pair say. It comprises a cast aluminium tripod frame, lightweight tread, handrail, and a ratchet strap that quickly fastens the step into place.

McIntyre's grandfather was a chief engineer in the production of the famous wartime De Havilland Mosquito aeroplane, the so-called "Wooden Wonder", and the step design draws on the techniques of aeronautical engineering, he added.

The stairs have already been erected on an oak tree on London's Hampstead Heath, with the approval of the park's tree officer.

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