Day 329/365 of Steel – Eva Jiricna

Eva Jiricna is an architect and interior designer, best known for her innovative use of industrial materials in retail and commercial spaces. Eva Jiřičná creatively fused her engineering and architecture background with interior design. By utilizing lighting effects and material characteristics, she maximized space in an intriguing manner.

Eva Jiřičná’s staircase was installed in the Paris Joan & David store in 1994
Fig 1: Eva Jiřičná’s staircase was installed in the Paris Joan & David store in 1994
Photo: Katsuhisa Kida, archive AI DESIGN

A subtle staircase constructed from stainless steel and glass was designed by Eva Jiřičná and her team for the now defunct Joan & David store in Paris. The store was on one of the most prestigious shopping districts in Paris on the rue du Faubourg St Honoré.

The main supporting element of the entire staircase comprises a central metal mesh that was fixed to the ceiling with just two anchoring points. The inside edge of the treads is attached to the fine central structure and the outside edge is attached to the very subtle truss structure that entwines around the entire staircase.

Joseph, Sloane Street, London completed in 1989, designed by Eva Jiricna Architects Limited.
Fig 2: Joseph, Sloane Street, London completed in 1989, designed by Eva Jiricna Architects Limited.
Photo: Image courtesy of AI DESIGN

A folded metal plate was developed to which the treads were partially attached. The supporting elements, required by the increased safety requirements, looked from below like the backbone of some unknown creature. Its proportions and shape are so precisely selected that the beauty of the glass sections are allowed to show through and together it all creates a dazzling effect. The vertical and horizontal steel elements have a very subtle effect, as does the refined handrail. Nothing is overdone.

“I do believe quite strongly that one should not use more materials than absolutely necessary to make a building. When we design certain types of staircase, we try to achieve the minimum weight by using structural principles which allow us to go so far. I feel responsible for wasting materials, for using more of the earth’s resources, but not for the time it takes to make things that are complicated for people to build or manufacture”. (Eva Jiricna)

Somerset House West Wing "The Miles Stair"
Fig 3: Somerset House West Wing “The Miles Stair”
Photo: © Peter Cook

The most recent journey of the staircase took place on 14th March 2019, when it was transported to Prague and the Dox Centre for Contemporary Art. Whilst the reconstruction took five months, the new installation was achieved in just four days. It has been deprived of its primary function as it cannot be climbed – it is just there to be admired by visitors. This, nevertheless, enables us to fully appreciate its quality. The staircase looks like a constructivist sculpture, an iconic work.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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