If you love tree-climbing and lack upper-body strength, look no further: here's Canopystair, an ingenious system from Robert McIntyre and Thor ter Kulve, two RCA design postgrads. It uses ratchet straps and aluminum tripods to anchor the steps, and combines them with a flexible handrail.
Alas, it doesn't appear to be an article of commerce as yet.
During the course of their final year at the RCA studying on the Design Products postgraduate programme, ter Kulve and McIntyre developed their concept, and began to experiment with various prototypes. Testing out CanopyStair they realised that what they had created was something rather special, much more than just a means to a view. They felt that they had unlocked a gate to a secret garden and made a passageway to a secluded habitat. Forest canopy is the least explored ecosystem on earth, a cloud of life that they could now access unobtrusively. And there was something deeply nostalgic about the experience of ascending the stairs – tapping into childhood memoires of exploring, climbing, trespassing, of tree houses and summer days.
The CanopyStair comprises a cast aluminium tripod frame, lightweight tread, handrail, and a ratchet strap that quickly fastens the step into place. The step design draws on the techniques of aeronautical engineering – McIntyre has a personal connection to the profession, as his grandfather was a chief engineer in the production of the famous wartime De Havilland 'Mosquito' aeroplane – the Wooden Wonder. The two felt there was something poetic as well as practical in this derivation.
(via Red Ferret)