Escher-like tulipwood structure makes a mark for Milan design fair

A collaboration between American Hardwood Exports Council (AHEC) and architecture studio dRMM presents ‘Scale Infinite’, a tulipwood structure that attracted significant attention at FuoriSalone 2014 in Milan.

The project is based on the Endless Stair, Escher-like interlocking staircases made from American tulipwood cross-laminated (CLT). It will be on display in the Ca’ Granda building until April 18.

Scale infinite is a play on perspective, featuring six interlocking flights of steps that have been joined together. It offers users a chance to experience the elegant courtyard from a unique viewpoint.

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“Scale Infinite is not just an exciting wood sculpture, it is also part of a unique research project that is advancing the knowledge of timber construction and sustainability,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC director for Africa, Middle East , South Asia and Oceania.

“This project is the first ever use of hardwood for CLT, which is usually made from softwood. American tulipwood is an abundant and relatively inexpensive American hardwood, and crucially for this project, it is incredibly strong and stiff for its weight

“Experimenting with the re-arrangement of landings and extending the cantilevering top flight to its limit has lifted the engineering design to a new level. To protect the courtyard, Scale Infinite sits on a platform with thermally modified American ash decking, which contrasts beautifully with the pale tulipwood.”

Wiles added that “the thermal modification process uses a high temperature in a controlled environment, permanently altering the wood’s chemical and physical properties. The process increases dimensional stability and decay resistance and thus significantly extends the service life of the material.”

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