Tied Up in Knots: 13 Truly Twisted Towers, Buildings & Staircases

Bridges, buildings, staircases and pavilions twist and turn around themselves, forming into neat knots or chaotic tangles in these 13 wildly weaving creations. There’s often a method to this madness, however, with the knots creating strategic nooks, pathways or climbable structures, taking inspiration from sailor’s ropes, woven palm fronds and pretzels.

Sous Le Ciel by Leandro Erlich at Le Bon Marché, Paris

Paris’ Le Bon Marché is tied up in knots with a new twisted staircase installation by Argentine artist Leandro Erlich entitled ‘Sous le Ciel.’ For the fourth year in a row, the store invited a contemporary artist to transform its stunning 19th century interiors, and this new iteration follows works by Ai Weiwei, Edoardo Tresoldi and Chiharu Shiota. Named for an Edith Piaf song, the pretzel-like sculpture makes it appear as if the staircase is twisted and knotted around itself.

Gangneung Resort Hotel by Planning Korea

Designed for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea but never built, this pretzel-shaped resort hotelby Planning Korea offers 946 rooms in a dramatic abstracted artificial ‘landscape’ with both mountain and marine activities for guests. The shape takes inspiration from the anatomy of plankton, and there’s a giant swimming pool suspended in a mid-level ‘belt’ connecting either end of the structure.

Lucky Knot Pedestrian Bridge in Changsha, China by Next Architects

A new landmark for the Chinese mega city Changsha, the Lucky Knot pedestrian bridge stands out both for its bold red color and its mobius-inspired shape. The bridge represents a collaboration between Next Architect’s Dutch and Chinese teams of designers, with the Dutch expertise in infrastructure and water management and the Chinese designers’ understanding of the local context. The bridge connects to multiple structures and levels of the landscape at various heights, “literally and metaphorically knotting all those routes together.”

Twisted Heartland 66 Mixed-Use Development in Wuhan, China by Aedas

Containing a shopping mall, office tower and serviced apartment, the design for Heartland 66 by Aedas “adopts a concept of ‘infinity loop’ as an association with the Chinese art of knot tie,” say the architects. “The concept of infinity loops and knots, developed by Aedas’ Executive Directors Christine Lam and David Clayton, is transformed into actual retail circulation which appears as the visual feature uniting the three uses. The infinite knot is presented in the circulation and roof form, connecting the anchors and destinations with seamless flowing arcades.”