Going up…and sideways: the elevator that could revolutionise hospitality


Elevators have only ever moved up and down.

Until now.

Hidden within one of Germany’s tallest buildings, there’s an invention that we think has the ability to revolutionise hospitality (and which, to be honest, is just SO EXCITING).

ThyssenKrupp is one of the world’s largest steel producers, but their latest creation is the world’s first rope-free, multi-directional elevator and it can be found in the Tower of Light, a 246-metre building in Berlin that houses office space, conference rooms and a 360-degree viewing platform.

The ‘Multi’ travels up and down, as well as sideways. It works a bit like the Underground, in that multiple cabins can be installed and removed or added, depending on how busy the building is.multi-sideways-elevator-test-tower-thyssenkrupp-technology_dezeen_sq-2

The company’s CEO of their elevator division, Andreas Schierenbeck, summed up the premise perfectly; “we took a train, adjusted it 90 degrees up and we put it into a shaft,” he told Wired magazine.

It’s not cheap, as you’d expect (the Multi is around three to five times more expensive than a standard lift system), but Schierenbeck suggests there’s a nice return to be had in the space saved; multiple elevators can cost a building up to 40% of its floor space.

We love seeing tech like this. The idea of a vertical Underground system slapped to the side of a hotel opens up so many possibilities. It hints at a more dynamic future for hospitality where buildings become vertical cities.

The Multi has the ability to solve challenges posed by tall buildings, and when it comes to reducing their impact on the environment, its reduced power demand means the Multi is green, too.

It’s also just undeniably cool. The Multi actually levitates, by using magnets that enable the cabins to ‘float’ on their rails, rather than roll.

Perhaps most exciting is the possibilities it opens up for building design. With more space to play with, new architectural opportunities for hotels should emerge; room design won’t be as constrained by hidden lift shafts and navigating the building will become an adventure (think Willy Wonka, and you get the idea).

screen-shot-2017-06-22-at-092832.pngIt’ll be a draw for guests, too. Rather than stopping at every floor, the Multi enables 6-8 people to enter the cabin and be whisked away to their exact destination without any awkward stumbling over each other as people exit at different floors.

Hospitality is all about creating amazing spaces and servicing people with talented, intuitive staff, but who’d have thought an elevator could also deliver an outstanding  guest experience? We certainly didn’t – until now!

Check out the Multi in action in this official video:

Image credits