Looking almost unreal in its sculptural beauty, a stunning corkscrew creation called “Stairstalk” stands at the center of London’s HIDE Restaurant, connecting three levels of fine dining experiences. It’s not often you find a staircase so beautiful that it becomes a destination in its own right, but this one definitely deserves that honor. Nobody could blame you for popping in without a reservation just to gawk at its swirling silhouette, but chances are you’ll probably want to grab a table and linger for a while once you’re there.
Designed by ATMOS Studio, Stairstalk is a branching timber structure envisioned as a seed planted in the basement, sprouting up through a central void in the restaurant and unfurling its branches throughout the mezzanine.
Stairstalk fits seamlessly into the interiors, which themselves were designed by Rose Murray (director of These White Walls). The architecture of the building, on the the other hand, was created by London-based firm lustedgreen. The staircase consists of a structural steel and plywood core, solid wooden steps, and laminated veneer lumber handcrafted by artisans in Poland. Each one of its leaf-like scalloped treads spirals out from a hand-carved helical inner stringer, curling down the length of the structure like woody vines.
The design hums with vitality, complementing both the warm wooden materiality of the space and the views of living trees outside. The language ATMOS uses to describe Stairstalk is fittingly sinuous, giving us a flowing mental image of how the staircase was created. They say: “The stringer rises smoothly from the basement bar, embedding and flattening for a moment into the half-landing, continuing to rise smoothly until it gently terminates into the mezzanine floor. The stair treads emerge from it like leaves from a stalk, forming a sequence of concave, scalloped forms in plan.”
“The intricate geometrical series slowly morphs from one shape to another, each front generally formed of smooth tripartite curves — protruding slightly to welcome the oncoming visitor, filleted at the edges to flow back into stringer and balustrade,” the designers continue. “The nosing of each tread is composed of a pair of thin tube-like fibers that travel smoothly out from the inner stringer, across the entire tread, and back out to extend forwards and curl into the surrounding wall, or form the light outer timber balustrade.”
“The main multi-fiber, solid-timber outer handrail rises from the edge of the floor void, along with a series of S-curved structural verticals and a web of elliptical angled balustrades, all fading back into the lift wall at the top.”
HIDE is located at 85 Piccadilly and overlooks London’s Green Park. Its three levels offer three different experiences, starting with “HIDE Below,” a basement bar that offers some of the world’s rarest and most impressive spirits. The second level (and the heart of the restaurant) is “HIDE Ground,” serving an informal selection of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and traditional British afternoon tea. A “HIDE and Seek Room” is located in its mezzanine, with private dining space for up to 20 people. At the pinnacle is “HIDE Above,” an elegant light-filled dining room offering lunch and a tasting menu for “true hedonists.”