Interloop: Vintage Wood Escalators Twisted into Works of Architectural Art

When famous buildings are demolished, like famous Louis Sullivan structures in Chicago, there’s a scramble to collect all of the ornamental bits and pieces for preservation — yet fewer people stop to notice (or try to collect) when it comes to more functional components of these structures.

But when a set of old timber escalators were being removed from Wynyard Station in Sydney, Australia, someone saw an opportunity to put them on display. After 80 years of use, artist Chris Fox was asked to turn these 244 wooden steps into something new.

The resulting Interloop keeps the essence of their shape and function intact, intertwining and winding upward in a dizzying set of spirals and parallel paths. Passengers on newly installed escalators, elevators and stairs can now appreciate these pieces of history soaring above them. From below, the suspended sculpture seems to intertwine then disentangle — coming down the new escalators, the steady steps wrap into one another.

Per the artist, Interloop “hangs from [the] ceiling, hovering above the escalators that travel underground from York Street. The vast twisting accordion-shaped sculpture reconfigures the heritage escalators that once stood there in a stitched form.” The project is over 150 long and weighs five tons. Its shape is meant to form a kind of feedback loop, “referencing all those journeys passed and now interlooping back.”