Stairs are inherently utilitarian, but some architects choose to really step up their interiors with highly sculptural designs that make you want to walk up and down a bunch of times. Cantilevered creations, floating stairs, spirals made of stone and zig-zagging graphic designs add both literal and figurative movement to these apartments, museums, offices and shops.
Stone and Wire in London by Groupwork + Amin Taha
During the completion of a renovation on a terraced house in central London dating to the 1950s, Groupwork + Amin Taha created a gorgeous centerpiece with this stone staircase, spiraling around a central cylinder-shaped wire cage, which acts as a balustrade. The load-bearing cantilevered travertine staircase extends from the basement to a skylight in the apartment’s roof.
Atrium Stairs at Moscow’s Dominion Office Building by Zaha Hadid
There’s something very futuristic-looking about the stark, graphic black-and-white stairs zig-zagging through the atrium of Zaha Hadid’s ‘Dominion Office Building.’ Each level is slightly offset from the next, producing a disorienting effect when looking down at the stairs from the edge of any of the balconies.
Mirrored Staircase at Kaleidoscope House by Paul Raff Studio
Sometimes, all it takes is a little creativity to produce a stunning effect, rather than a large space and expensive materials. The staircase ascending through Paul Raff Studio’s Kaleidoscope House features mirrored side panels on the balustrade which continue onto the landings of each level, reflecting each other so you can’t quite tell what’s real and what’s reflection. This piece is the heart of the home’s ‘kaleidoscope effect.’
Plywood Puzzle Stairs in London House by Tsuruta Architects
This staircase in a London Home renovated by Tsuruta Architects consists of nearly 2,000 plywood pieces slotted together like a puzzle. Replacing a larger staircase with a more compact design, this new creation connects all four stories without visually obstructing the transitional spaces between them, allowing light to filter through.
Smooth Staircase at Singapore Apple Store by Foster + Partners
It’s not unusual for Apple stores in larger cities to function as showcases for architecture nearly as much as they do for electronics. In this case, internationally renowned firm Foster + Partners augmented “the greenest Apple space yet” with two hand-carved spiraling staircases made of Italian Castagna Stone. The architects describe them as “warm and beautifully sculpted bookends” in an “homage to craftsmanship and materiality.”