Roger Tallon’s helicoid spiral staircase

Tallon staircase, with unusual rail

This disassemblable spiral staircase by French industrial designer Roger Tallon is, not surprisingly, in the design collection of the MOMA. It is both ingenious in engineering terms and beautiful. Tallon is one of those prolific and versatile designers responsible for a diverse collection of projects. Among many other things these include the Wimpy chair, cutlery, TVs, sinks, France’s streamlined TVG high speed train, and more recently he was the design director for the Eurostar trains as well. Yet oddly he’s not all that well-known outside France—for example there’s no Wikipedia entry for him in English. This is strange when you take the breadth and quality of his projects into account. How does that happen?

This 1964 staircase, officially called the “model M400 adjustable helicoid spiral staircase,” has a central steel column on which are strung ten cast aluminum steps, one wide landing stair and the spacers. The M400 is still being made, and if you are sitting on a lot of disposable income you can have one. The top image of the staircase is a recent photo by an auction house, and it shows a very nice after-market hand rail. The staircase comes with no rail so there were many interesting custom made solutions to the rail problem, not usually as nice as this one. I recently found photos of the staircase as installed in a modernized 60s room in an old Paris house, below, in the 1973 decor book 1601 Decorating Ideas for Modern Living. Closeup photo via stairporn (others here, and see other stairs from stairporn here).

Roger Tallon Staircase, Paris, 1970s

Roger Tallon's Helicoid spiral staircase

Roger Tallon Staircase, Paris, 1970s

Escalier M400 by Roger Tallon, before assembly

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

21 Responses to “Roger Tallon’s helicoid spiral staircase”

  1. John Hopper Says:

    I really love the idea of a spiral staircase, but have always wondered how you get a wardrobe, chest of drawers, or bed up to the bedroom. Any ideas?

  2. admin Says:

    John, I know. It would require either magic, or a crane. I think a spiral stair has to be a secondary staircase, up to a reading platform or something, and then you’d also have a regular staircase as well. (Or you just buy a cherrypicker and hoist everything in through a big upstairs window.) However my aunt has a spiral staircase in her handmade house, and a big mezzanine balcony at the top. She took smaller pieces of furniture up the stairs, and the larger ones they just hoisted up from the balcony. For her, the spiral staircase was a big space-saver.

  3. ominoliquido Says:

    Ross Lovegrove designed a really similar staircase 30 years later!!!! The DNA staircase.

  4. admin Says:

    ominoliquido: wow, you’re right. very, very similar.

  5. P Bayol Says:

    bonjour, avez vous un escalier de Roger Tallon a vendre ? merci

  6. LB Says:

    Je suis desole, non! I wish I had a set of those stairs – but sadly, no. If anyone has some Tallon stairs to sell, you can contact Philippe through this blog!

  7. Dutch treat « Alvar and I Says:

    […] masterpieces of industrial design like the Compass desk by Jean Prouve, the incredibly elegant M400 helicoidal spiral staircase from Roger Tallon, or the Mies Van der Rohe Brno […]

  8. John M Says:

    I have a set of the stairs if anyone is interested…send me an email at

  9. Vicki Chelf Says:

    I have 2 pairs of Roger Talon cast aluminum staircases each 12′ tall that I would like to sell. They are in Sarasota Florida.

  10. Knox Design Says:

    From someone who builds a lot of staircases for a living, Roger Tallon’s spiral staircase has a wonderful design to it. I like how simple and clean it is, and how it doesn’t take up a lot of space.. But I agree it would be pretty hard trying to lug a dresser or something up them! From an aesthetic view point, however, this staircase is wonderful.

  11. veyrat pascale Says:

    quel est le prix de l’escalier de roger talon pour une hauteur de 2,50 m?

  12. LB Says:

    Je suis desole; je ne sais pas. Je ne suis pas une vendeuse…

  13. Adrien Says:

    Hi, i’m searching some stairs ( at least 3) or a complete one of the M400 vintage staircase. It’s the bigger one, ~23in / 60cm not the actual narrower.( like the last picture) please contact me :

    Bonjour , je suis a la recherche d’un escalier complet ou de marches ( au moins 3) a acheter, Je precise que cela doit etre l’escalier M400 vintage en marche de ~60cm ( facile a discerner, les plaques antiderapante ne sont pas ronde, mais epouse la forme de la marche comme sur la derniere photo.
    Merci de me contacter


  14. John Johnson Says:

    Hi — I too am looking to buy a staircase. Anyone have any leads? I will need one at least 20 feet tall. Thanks.

  15. Niko Says:

    to Vicki Chelf:
    if you still have Roger Tallon staircases please send me your email because I would like to buy them.

  16. John Braseth Says:

    Does anyone have a Mr. Roger Tallon staircase available to purchase…..need
    11 ft. Sincerely, John Braseth, Seattle.
    Were there any reproductions made….good reproductions?

  17. niko Says:

    french company sentou is producing a small aluminium 50 cm version and in combo Al/wood, there are no reproductions due to the high manufacturing cost involved

  18. cecchinel Says:

    i ve got to sell a roger tallon helicoidal , 24 steps = 4,80 m , model m 400 , the price 25000 euros contact /

  19. Enzomarifan Says:

    You all better pay attention. This staircase is still in production by Sentou, Paris.

  20. Jon Says:

    Where am I able to shop for this helicoid spiral staircase?

  21. Maria yeates Says:

    Would be interested in ordering one. Thank you

Leave a Reply