Good Thinking

CanopyStair helps you traverse the treetops

CanopyStair helps you traverse...
CanopyStair is a modular system for attaching a staircase to the trunk of a tree
CanopyStair is a modular system for attaching a staircase to the trunk of a tree
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CanopyStair is a modular system for attaching a staircase to the trunk of a tree
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CanopyStair is a modular system for attaching a staircase to the trunk of a tree
CanopyStair is attached to the trunk of the tree using adjustable ratchet straps
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CanopyStair is attached to the trunk of the tree using adjustable ratchet straps
CanopyStair is the work of Robert McIntyre and Thor ter Kulve
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CanopyStair is the work of Robert McIntyre and Thor ter Kulve
CanopyStair is the work of Robert McIntyre and Thor ter Kulve
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CanopyStair is the work of Robert McIntyre and Thor ter Kulve
CanopyStair is designed not to mark or harm the tree in any way
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CanopyStair is designed not to mark or harm the tree in any way
CanopyStair can be used to gain an elevated view of your surroundings
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CanopyStair can be used to gain an elevated view of your surroundings
CanopyStair allows adults and children alike easy access to the top of a tree
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CanopyStair allows adults and children alike easy access to the top of a tree
CanopyStair is a modular system for attaching a staircase to the trunk of a tree
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CanopyStair is a modular system for attaching a staircase to the trunk of a tree

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 is attached to the trunk of the tree using adjustable ratchet straps
CanopyStair is attached to the trunk of the tree using adjustable ratchet straps

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.

Source: CanopyStair via Dezeen

7 comments
Milton
very cool!
Robert Walther
Very pretty, but other than a partial stage for a Led Zeppelin video, I am not certain I see the use.
Timelord
It doesn't seem to lead up to any treehouse as mentioned offhandedly in the first sentence. And if there were a treehouse up there for adults, why wouldn't a time-honored ladder do the trick? For acrophobic adults, a caged ladder would work fine.
DavidB
If it were affordably priced, I'd absolutely put that in one of the 90–100-foot Doug firs in my back yard.
Anne Ominous
Here are some things wrong with this idea: The neoprene "contact points" might not damage a tree, but over time the straps definitely would. The individual steps are not mechanically attached to adjacent steps (except via the handrail which obviously doesn't count as structural support). Which means your points of failure are multiplied rather than reinforced. From an engineering standpoint I consider it to be weakly designed.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
This is really a slick idea. Straps would be a lot more reliable in fiberglass. Wouldn't need the neoprene. Vertical ladder is a challenge for a lot of people.
Darool
As an adult tree climber using tried and tested rope and harness this idea has a limited appeal. I would call this design a work of art only. For one it required three hours of intense work and then you are only barely 4 meters off the ground. With a rope and harness, after three hours I can be safely 100 meters up a sequoia redwood. These days and into the future we should be using less resources to achieve our objectives and there is already dedicated tree climbing equipment that certainly achieves this.