Library Steps, Mk VII
These steps belong to a series of scorched oak pieces, dating from 2013, designed by James Ryan. He says, ‘Since 2001 I have created seven different designs of library steps. I wanted my newest version to be as delicate as possible. But of course library steps need to be robust, and my aim here is to create an elegant balance of strength and lightness. These steps weigh very little and can be moved about easily. They are secure and stable because they sit on three feet. The layered, or laminated, curved components are formed into a strong triangulated structure. I used computer-aided design software to help me plot the complex joints between the components.’
The steps are made from Hampshire oak, carefully seasoned in on our drying sheds over several years. Visually, the blackened finish is important, because it unifies the pieces of oak glued together to make up the steps. The finish is achieved by first scorching and then wire brushing the surface. Finally, a solution of vinegar and iron oxide is applied to react with the tannins in the oak and turn the piece a deep black.
The steps are 57 wide, 67 deep and 149 high (cm). They were made by Paulo de Vasconcelos.
The Barnsley Workshop stamp, date and maker’s mark can be found on the underside of the bottom step. These steps are one of a kind.