Ocean Infinity operate fleets of marine robots to expand knowledge of the ocean. They required a contemporary reception staircase with the ‘wow factor’ to create a favourable first impression for visitors. Alpine was tasked to create this stunning one-off staircase, a staircase that in a true sense was neither typically helical, nor spiral and certainly unique, whilst meeting the exacting needs of the companies involved in the project.
The architect first approached Alpine to design the stunning staircase, within the budget parameters of the contractor. As is the norm for buildings, there were a chain of companies in the process. The main players involved in the building project, were Max Worsley from Ocean Infinity, Architect Steve Smith from Boyle & Summers, and Justin Galloway from Mildren Construction, and of course the Alpine Group.
The contractor dealt with the architect who in turn, talked to Alpine Group, as we were tasked to create and install the staircase. These interwoven relationships make a complex environment of stakeholders which anyone in this sector will understand. The customer wanted something very special and so it was Alpine Group’s task to identify and feedback what could be done, through the chain via the architect. Clear communication is key. Part of the journey for Alpine, which has become a strong company value, is to always consider the position of all the parties involved when working toward a solution, so a win-win can be found. Alpine will always zero in on the best value solution, without compromise on delivering an exquisite staircase. Alpine Group is made up of a team of proactive problem solvers, who never accept second best solutions.
Designing a new kind of staircase
We inspected everything early to ensure the building was built in a way to be able to support our staircase and once we completed our calculations, we sent the designs back to all the parties involved so they could visualise the final stairs. Early involvement brought about a huge raft of advantages for the main contractor and ultimately a much better product.
From the outset, Alpine provided a truly collaborative service, listening to our conceptual ideas
We drew the staircase, 3D modelled it, incorporated the latest building regulations, deciding how many treads were needed, the width of the staircase, how many handrails and the thickness of the glass to ensure structural requirements were met. Having that valuable early engagement with the main contractor, we could ensure the staircase could fit into the building and they left the front end open during the build, so we could use a crane to bring in the larger items.
We decided to put in the minimum number of connections, so the staircase looked its best and as an advantage, having less connections ultimately meant the price was in constraints. The staircase was then prepared, painted and the glass installed.
Bespoke design and finer details
There were several design considerations that needed careful forethought. Alpine’s designers looked at ways of customising the staircase and its incline. The final design of staircase was a hybrid. In this case, a spiral staircase was discounted on the grounds of being too tight to walk up and there was not enough space for a full helical staircase, and the landings needed consideration, which also discounted the helical.
The version we produced had a column up the middle with structural nodes supporting the landings. The clever and distinctive Ocean Infinity company logo was incorporated into the nodes as a branding point. This wasn’t just a stick-on, it was laser cut into the sleeve. This was a finer detail and it makes a lasting impression to onlookers and that was something that architect, Steve Smith from Boyle & Summers, appreciated about Alpine. Smith provided the feedback: “From the outset, Alpine provided a truly collaborative service, listening to our conceptual ideas, working with us to refine the details, liaising with the contractor to ensure best-value, and ultimately creating a sculptural masterpiece. Their craftsmanship and attention to detail exceeded expectation, right down to the embossed/etched corporate logo added to each of the supporting brackets.”
The finished product takes pride of place in the reception area against the wall, both dominating and bringing together the aspects of the tall room it stands within. For a standout staircase the Ocean Infinity project delivered.
The big question is, of course, what did the project manager Max Worsley think of the end results? He said: “The helical staircase at our new facility in Southampton is a striking centrepiece and sits beautifully in the middle of our reception lobby. The curved glass and contrast against the feature timber wall behind make it stand out and create a fantastic impression as you first enter the building. It was a pleasure working with The Alpine Group throughout the project and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Alpine Group produced a bespoke, beautiful, and contemporary staircase for Ocean Infinity. It has a strong presence in the space it was placed and gives the company an architectural delight to enjoy in their building. As always, it was a huge advantage to be involved in the earliest stages, as this ensured planning was robust, and gave up more options for design. The other major triumph in this project was understanding the finances, the expectations, and having clear channels of communication to adapt designs so everyone is ultimately happy. If you want to talk to Alpine Group about a staircase project, contact us and we’d be happy to explain how we can help.