Floating Red Staircase by Michaelis Boyd

Floating Red Staircase is an industrial apartment located in London, United Kingdom, designed in 2021 by Michaelis Boyd.

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The original architectural work took place back in 2010, when the studio combined two existing flats into a 4-bedroom maisonette. Almost a decade on, the architects returned to incorporate quirky design details that would reflect the creative personality of the client and their children.

Having previously lived in apartments, the clients enjoyed the social and open nature of horizontal living. With this in mind, Michaelis Boyd made considered choices in order to apply this concept to a home with all the richness and detail of a Georgian property.

Now spread across three floors, the finished maisonette comprises four bedrooms, open plan living, dining and kitchen spaces, TV room, a study, dressing room, four bathrooms and a utility room.
Contemporary spaces are warmed and softened by traditional oak floors, panelled walls and ornate cornices. Bespoke joinery is installed throughout, introducing bright colours and quirky functionality to rooms where timeless marble combines with a modern industrial red metal staircase, Crittall screens and colourful tiles.

The building’s external appearance reflects the established vernacular of the borough, and the client valued the ornate period features of the house, but also believed their new home should have strong elements of contemporary design. Drawing on the family’s own heritage for inspira- tion, Michaelis Boyd’s interiors combine classic furniture pieces with an impressive and eclectic collection of art and photography.

Playful design details

One of the main design challenges was finding solutions for the client to live with their art, rather than have it on display. This then led to the design of the new staircase which is inspired by the floating red “Staircase-III” by Doh Ho Suh, exhibited at the Tate Modern.

Connecting the two floors, this unique sculptural staircase is made from perforated red steel and floats above the living room floor. It is a true example of Michaelis Boyd’s commitment to work- ing closely with clients to challenge expectations, resulting in unusual spaces and playful features. Collaborating with Diapo and Webb Yates Engineers, the team met the challenge of retaining the functional integrity of a staircase for a family home.

This bold addition reflects the general design approach to the home’s living spaces, which are designed to be as open as possible with steel and glass partitions providing separations without restricting natural light.

On the first floor, a study formed by dark metal Crittall glazing faces the open lounge space. A Bulthaup kitchen comprises a stainless steel clad worktop and island with simple white units sitting on a limestone floor, and a cosy dining area set in an adjacent bay window. The family TV room is separated from the kitchen by further dark metal Crittall screens, with built in dark grey joinery concealing storage for board games and AV equipment.
Up on the second floor, dappled light hits the white painted walls that surround the staircase and herringbone oak flooring leads through to four bedrooms, a shared bathroom and two en-suite bathrooms clad in curved geometric wall tiles.

Photography by Gavriil Papadiotis

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- by Matt Watts