Lonely Planet Writer

This mesmerising winding staircase floats over commuters' heads in a Sydney station

From this point on, commuters passing underground through Sydney’s Wynyard Station will no doubt be surprised to see over 200 wooden escalator treads twisting and turning overhead, as if suspended by magic. And while visitors would be forgiven for thinking that they have stepped into the world of Harry Potter, the unique spectacle is actually a new permanent site-specific installation entitled Interloop.

Interloop is a unique, site-specific installation at Sydney's Wynyard Station.
Interloop is a unique, site-specific installation at Sydney’s Wynyard Station. Image by Josh Raymond

Created by Chris Fox, a contemporary artist and sculptor from Australia, the piece can be seen at the escalators linking York Street to the main concourse level of Wynyard Station. The hovering sculpture loops together two pairs of reconfigured heritage escalators measuring more than 50 metres in length and incorporating 244 wooden treads and four escalator combs, with some of the materials used dating back to 1931 and weighing over five tonnes.

Workers installing Interloop at the station.
Workers installing Interloop at the station. Image by Chris Fox

Taking six months to design and engineer, the sculpture’s fabrication took a further 12 weeks, with over one kilometre of welding being required. Built from high strength marine grade aluminium, Interloop is suspended from new steel beams, with the wooden treads from the original escalators being fastened to the accordion-like surface.

The piece took six months to design and engineer, and the fabrication took a further 12 weeks.
The piece took six months to design and engineer, and the fabrication took a further 12 weeks. Image by Josh Raymond

“The old escalators had been there for over eighty years and before they were removed they held this sense of time and journeys, of time and travel. Now the iconic timber-structure has been reborn as a sculpture. With the re-purposing of the wooden treads, the sculpture aims to evoke memories of passengers and modes of travel from the past while conjuring complimentary ideas of journey and travel, start and finish, here and there, as well as past and future,” artist Chris Fox told Lonely Planet Travel News.

The sculpture is over 50 metres in length and incorporates 244 wooden treads and four escalator combs.
The sculpture is over 50 metres in length and incorporates 244 wooden treads and four escalator combs. Image by Josh Raymond

With a special interest in projects that explore the technical and conceptual makeup of architecture and construction, Chris’ past work includes a 370 metre-long steel installation at Global Switch’s Paris Data Centre, as well as a number of intriguing, specially-built objects and machine designs that have been displayed in galleries and on sites all over the world.

More of Chris Fox’s work is available at his official website.