The elevator was invented over 160 years ago, and engineering firm ThyssenKrupp evidently thinks it’s time to shake things up a bit. They’ve designed the MULTI: a rope-less horizontal-vertical system that’s drawn comparisons to Willy Wonka’s crazy sideways-moving elevator. And now they’ve brought their designs from paper into the real world at an 807-foot-high test tower in Rottweil, Germany.


ThyssenKrupp, ThyssenKrupp Elevator, MULTI, MULTI system, MULTI by ThyssenKrupp, elevator, elevators, elevator design, sideways, horizontal-vertical, horizontal-vertical elevator, cable-free, rope-less, magnet, magnets, Maglev, architecture, design

ThyssenKrupp’s technology allows multiple elevator cabins to run in a loop – “like a metro system inside a building,” according to the firm. And no cables or ropes are necessary; the cars move due to a magnet-based drive system as might be found in Maglev trains. The test tower boasts 12 test shafts, with cars that can travel as rapidly as 59 feet per second.

Related: This Italian elevator transports passengers vertically and horizontally

The MULTI system has numerous benefits over the traditional elevator. ThyssenKrupp Elevator AG CEO Andreas Schierenbeck said in a statement, “We believe MULTI is a genuine game-changer that will truly transform the way people move, work, and live in our built environment. It will reduce waiting times for passengers and take up significantly less space within the building.” Add to that a reduced carbon footprint – the system uses as much as 60 percent less peak energy than traditional elevators.

ThyssenKrupp, ThyssenKrupp Elevator, MULTI, MULTI system, MULTI by ThyssenKrupp, elevator, elevators, elevator design, sideways, horizontal-vertical, horizontal-vertical elevator, cable-free, rope-less, magnet, magnets, Maglev, architecture, design, test tower, Rottweil, Germany

ThyssenKrupp said their system has no height limitations, and as it can move sideways and vertically it opens up new architectural possibilities. This is crucial because as more people move to the world’s cities, the design of high-rise buildings will make an impact on a city’s carbon emissions.

ThyssenKrupp, ThyssenKrupp Elevator, MULTI, MULTI system, MULTI by ThyssenKrupp, elevator, elevators, elevator design, sideways, horizontal-vertical, horizontal-vertical elevator, cable-free, rope-less, magnet, magnets, Maglev, architecture, design

These benefits aren’t without their costs. The new system is reportedly almost five times more expensive than conventional elevators, so adoption of the new design could take a while. But ThyssenKrupp already has its first customer: OVG Real Estate. The MULTI system will be installed in Berlin in their East Side Tower, which could be finished in 2019.

+ ThyssenKrupp MULTI

Via ThyssenKrupp and New Atlas

Images via ThyssenKrupp (1,2)