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Philip Watts Design ‘Why should staircases be boring?’

Philip Watts Design is a creative design and build team based in Nottingham, UK. In less than twenty years they have  designed over 500 products, worked on over 100 interior projects, and completed 150 unique bespoke installations worldwide. And they have a thing for staircases.

Philip Watts Design  staircase Les Houches

Philip Watts Design  staircase - Battersea

Philip Watts Design  staircase - Northampton

Are these staircases, organic sculptures or both?  They are in private houses, from top to bottom, in Les Houches in France, London and Northampton, they are made from cast aluminium and seem to be modeled on dinosaur vertebrae. ‘I love the fluidity of metal, says Philip,  ‘That sounds like a paradox, but we work with a lot of cast aluminium.’ Every detail is hand carved from MDF before components are sand cast.   All of Philip’s work is made in the UK, and he uses a traditional local foundry for the casting.   Asked about his inspiration, Phillip enthuses: ‘Form is as important as function in my mind, sometimes more important. Why should staircases be boring? Who decreed they should just go up and down. Our staircases are statement pieces. They literally make you go wow, and I like that.’

Philip Watts Design  chaos - Zeillig building - detail

Philip Watts Design  chaos - Zeillig building

And this is what happens when Philip gets let loose on a large space. It’s the Chaos sculpture in the Zellig, which is part of the Custard Factory in Birmingham. Some of that needs some explaining. The Birmingham Custard Factory describes itself as a “five-acre sprawl of riverside factories, built 100 years ago by Sir Alfred Bird, the inventor of custard.” It is offices, shops and more, including the Zellig which is a building within the Custard Factory that rents out studios, offices, galleries and other spaces aimed at the creative industries. The chaos sculpture is a five-story sculpture with three glass bridges and 2000 metres of steel tubing. And, as Phil says, ‘wow’. You can see more work by Philip Watts on Modenus.

Images from Philip Watts Design.


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