A new isolation interface is proposed in this study to retrofit existing buildings with inadequate soft stories as well as new structures to be constructed with soft first story intended for architectural or functional purposes. The seismic interface is an assembly of bearings set in parallel on the top of the first story columns: the multiple-slider bearings and rubber bearings. The multiple-slider bearing is a simple sliding device consisting of one horizontal and two inclined plane sliding surfaces based on polytetrafluoroethylene and highly polished stainless steel interface at both ends set in series. A numerical example of a five-story reinforced concrete shear frame with soft first story is considered and analyzed to demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed isolation system in reducing the ductility demand and damage in the structure while maintaining the superstructure above the bearings to behave nearly in the elastic range with controlled bearing displacement. Comparative study with the conventional system as well as various isolation systems such as rubber bearing interface and resilient sliding isolation is carried out. Moreover, an optimum design procedure for the multiple-slider bearing is proposed through the trade-off between the maximum bearing displacement and the first story ductility demand ratio. The results of extensive numerical analysis verify the effectiveness of the multiple-slider bearing in minimizing the damage from earthquake and protecting the soft first story from excessively large ductility demand. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.