Hard Work Creates Soft Lines
By Bill Hohlfeld
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
For some fashion plates out there, the closest you can come to heaven on earth, is to slip into a pair of Armani jeans and a tee-shirt. But, if you’d like to save yourself about $175.00 you can visit the new showroom at 56th and Fifth and climb the newly constructed “stairway to heaven.” Patterns and fabric notwithstanding, the design is another Armani original, the physical creation is expertly crafted and the final product, eye catching.
This elaborate arrangement of risers and treads was the result of a computer generated design. The software used to develop its unique shape is normally used to create roller coaster configuations. While the Armani staircase is certainly more pedestrian than a roller coaster, it is no less exciting, either in its look or its history.
Prefabricated in Italy, the staircase was shipped in 75 separate sections ranging from 10 to 12 feet in length, which were unloaded by crane onto a closed down 56th St. Each section was then rolled into the store on massive I-beams from which they were hoisted into place with chain falls.
Under the direction of the General Contractor, Americon, a composite team of Locals 40 and 580 Ironworkers bolted and welded the pieces together to form a complete structure. Then, Nastassi and Associates sent in a team of welders, led by Local 46 Foreman, Sean Jennings to bridge the series of 2 ft. gaps left at the seams with 3/8” reinforcing mats. They built the area out to within 1” of what would be the finished plaster surface.
Finally, J. Rosen Plastering had their craftsmen put on all the finishing touches. Wire Lather Foreman, Jerry Griffin and his four man crew then spent the next several weeks removing the tubular stops that had been attached for shipping, meticulously tying rib lath to the two foot splice areas, and installing top rail and base rail bead work. This last part of the process was no mean feat, as the curvature of the bead work needed to be an exact match to the already intricate design of the stairs and rails. With all the substrate properly set, Rosens’ professional team of plasterers could finish the work of art with a final flourish of flawless plastering. As with most of Armani’s creations, the attenion to detail is remarkable.