Many children have such a fascination with climbing trees that they end up persuading their parents to build them a treehouse. This offers peace, tranquility, sanctuary, and a place to connect with nature. Unfortunately, adults lose the desire to climb trees, but perhaps they wouldn't if there was an easier way to climb up into the canopy. Enter CanopyStair.
CanopyStair is a modular staircase enabling people to walk up into the canopy of a tree. It manages this without marking or damaging the tree in any way, and can be fitted without the need for any tools. It's the work of designers Robert McIntyre and Thor ter Kulve, who developed the product while in their final year at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London.
The pair of budding designers were inspired by a trip to the Azores. Their view of the sea was obscured by a stone wall, so climbed up into the canopy of a nearby tree to fully appreciate the vista. It was while watching the sun set from this vantage point that they began discussing how to create a system for turning a garden tree into a staircase.
CanopyStair consists of an aluminum tripod frame, curved plywood platforms, and woven ratchet straps that can be adjusted to fit different sizes of tree trunks. The frame only makes contact with the tree via thick neoprene pads. Ash poles are attached to each step to provide a handrail and make the whole thing safer to climb.
Installation times vary, but McIntyre and ter Kulve suggest it would take two people around three hours to assemble a 7-meter (23-ft) high CanopyStair. A prototype which was successfully erected in Sussex now takes pride of place outside the RCA's campus in Kensington as part of the current graduate exhibition.
There's currently no word on possible commercialization.