Armin Ganguly-Hiebert

Director - Ganguly Architects Ltd

Armin is a registered architect since 1994 and a chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). His career spans more than 25 years, from working with some of Berlin and London's best-known architect studios to setting up his own practice, Studio in 1997. His wife Isabella joined the company in 2009 and the studio was re-launched as Ganguly Architects Ltd. The practice works on a large variety of different types of projects on contemporary, traditional and listed buildings. Armin is one of Europe's most influential architects on popular social media channel, Twitter - where he often shares design inspiration and advice.


How do you think staircases can become outstanding focal points in an interior, or what makes an interesting staircase?

The devil is in the details! We use stairs every day. A staircase can be an eye-catching feature, whether it has a traditional design or an unusual shape.

The overall aim is to create an interesting 'journey' between the spaces that the staircase connects. A visually striking staircase is always a statement as vertical link and transport hub in a building.

It is often just the small 'differences' in the details of handrails, balustrades, materials and actual structural components that can make an interesting, inviting staircase and these differences can make you want to walk on it, or not.

 

Why did you agree to take part in the competition?

I designed and built (with my own hands) my first timber staircase more than 30 years ago. Designing a unique staircase is always a fascinating challenge, because "almost" everything is possible!

We are living in the age of vertical and horizontal elevators, escalators - and waiting for the next generation of real 'hoverboards'. But stairs will always be a crucial factor for the functionality of any building.

A staircase is not just connecting floors with each other. They can be symbolic or even act as a metaphor with significant subject meaning in a building. That's why stairs have such an immense fascination not only amongst architects.

 

What will you be looking for in the entries?

Think outside the box, have fun and surprise us!

This competition is exploring new innovative ways of staircase design in a modern corporate environment and we are also looking for contemporary repeatable, affordable balustrade designs.

I do appreciate a practically feasible approach, but wouldn't see that as a limitation in this competition. My hope is for fresh, inspirational & innovative designs in combination with an edge of engineering virtuosity.
Stairs are gateways to another place. For a staircase it is not the destination that counts - but the 'journey' being on the stairs.