Stone Nov 2012 – Architecture: Like a fairytale dragon in marble

Stone Nov 2012 – Architecture: Like a fairytale dragon in marble

(November 2012) We dare to claim that the staircase is unique: London’s new St James Theatre bridges the gap between the ground floor and the first floor restaurant with a grand Carrara Marble swung staircase.

25 tons of white and blueish Carrara natural stone went into Mark Humphrey’s construction by the title ‘Final encore’. He was inspired by the curtain calls of actors at the theatre: as they join hands to take a bow, so, too, do the elements of the staircase join together in alternating colors.


The white elements carry the weight of the stairs, the bluish ones are affixed with the help of special adhesive and metal joints.

The staircase is overwhelming not only because of the magnificence of the material used.

The shape of the staircase is reminiscent of a fairytale monster: a giant centipede or dragon.


The overall concept is complemented by a café open all day as well as a restaurant. Facilities can be reserved for events by private users or companies.

Visitors would enjoy the swung staircase on top as a special attraction. Mark Humphrey, self-declared ‘artist of design’ hopes that visitors will use the staircase, stroll around it, feel the cool smooth stone, and take numerous pictures, he says in a video. “When that happens it (the work) must be good.”

10 raw blocks of marble with a total mass of over 200 t were imported from the mountains of Pietrasanta for ‘Final encore’. 15 stonemasons worked a total of 4,000 hours to complete the piece. Porcelli Marmi Company realized the project. Mark Humphrey gave the reason for his choice of producing company which does not even have its own webpage: “only to work with the very best master craftsmen and stone masons.”


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