Why do we use a staircase? Obviously, for climbing up to an upper floor or getting down to a lower one. Silly question! But have you ever thought that a staircase can also look attractive? In fact, it can be a piece of art and architecture that can require marvellous carpentry and highly creative mind. And it can please your eyes so much that you would really want to ditch your beloved elevator and take up the stairs. Staircases have not really been thought of as an attractive element and they are usually there just to satisfy the need. But with the development in technology, staircases are not even used as a necessity. Everyone prefers to use the elevator or the escalators (automatic stairs) as they minimize the time and effort. And we are a generation of busy, lazy people! Tell me when was the last time you took stairs while travelling by a subway or while strolling in a mall. You don’t remember right? I don’t blame you, even I don’t. But here are some gorgeous staircases from all across the world that you definitely would not mind clambering up, even if you have to burn some calories for that.
10. Bridge-stair, Traversinertobel, Switzerland
Is it a bridge? Are those stairs? Oh well, it is both! You can find this unique combination of bridge and stairs in a side valley of Via Mala in Switzerland. In the valley of Via Mala, there are two different elevations at a distance of 56 metres which also has a difference of 22 metres in their heights. There used to be a rope bridge, which was used by hikers earlier, which eventually marked down due to a rock slide. Then engineer Jürg Conzett and his associate Rolf Bachofner thought of a brilliant idea which could span the distance as well as the height between the two elevations. This Bridge-stair is the latest of its kind and you should definitely check it out while travelling Switzerland.
9. Awaji Hyakudanen, Japan
Awaji Hyakudanen is one of the most beautiful places around the globe and is located on the side of a mountain in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. This side of mountain was destroyed in early 90s so that it could be used as sea fill for the construction of man made islands. These man made islands are now the Kansai International Airport. Awaji Hyakudanen means “Stage of Dreams” in English and it is an array of 100 squares of terraced gardens. These beautiful squared terrace gardens consist of many colourful flowers and were constructed to restore the natural environment which was once destroyed by the man.
8. Elegant Staircase, Paris
This staircase has been pertinently named the Elegant Staircase. It is indeed very elegant and its very sight is breath-taking. This piece of art is located in the Petit Palais museum of Paris, France. Anybody visiting France just should not miss the chance to see this terrific museum and its very elegant staircase. The banisters of the staircase were created by Girault who used swags of wrought iron to make moulded strands in the shape of garlands and beautiful flowery patterns.
7. Lello Bookshop, Portugal
It’s bright, it’s classy and it’s pink! Lello Bookshop is one of the most popular bookshops across the world where people come not just for the educational offering but also the alluring one. The bookshop’s pivotal component is its bright pink staircase where the stairs appear to be sinking in the ground creating a wonderful optical illusion. This staircase dates back to 1906 and the design was the brainchild of architect Xavier Esteves. The steps have got a swirling structure where two channels appear to be pouring in, in a single point and the sight is truly amazing. The famous Harry Potter writer JK Rowling is also thought to have taken inspiration from this very bookstore in Portugal.
6. San Francisco’s Tiled Steps, USA
These are colourful, funky and so cool! The San Francisco’s Tiled Steps are the World’s longest mosaic stairs and were designed and fabricated by Irish ceramicist Aileen Barr and San Francisco mosaic artist Colette Crutcher. This staircase elements over 2000 handmade tiles and 75,000 fragments of tile, mirror and stained glass incorporated in such a manner that it forms a colourful mosaic art. The Tiled steps has got 163 steps which reach 82’ of height. It is quite evident by just looking at this masterpiece, that constructing it was so not easy. Over 300 community volunteers engaged for over a two and a half year period to finally unravel this project in 2005 which is now one of the most beautiful staircases in whole World.
5. Tulip Staircase, Queen’s House, England
The Queen of England ostensibly has something for flowers, and that too quite beautiful ones. Or so is evident from the Tulip Staircase which glorifies the Queen’s House. This unusual staircase is not just a visual delight but also an architectural wonder. The tulip staircase, which also has a lantern below, was the first centrally unsupported helical stair pattern that was ever constructed in England. The staircase was given the name “Tulip” and has been called the same since always but it is thought that the wrought iron balustrades and the stylized flowers in it actually resemble fleurs-de-lis, which was the emblem of the Bourbon Family.
4. Spiral staircase, Vatican museum, Italy
Take a look at this staircase and you will be in awe for the next few minutes. This staircase is actually that beautiful and also the most photographed one around the world. And when you talk about spiral staircases, you just can’t skip this one. The Spiral Staircase located in Vatican Museum, Italy was designed by the famous architect and engineer Giuseppe Momo in 1932. It has got two beautifully decorated intertwined spirals forming a double helical structure and there are broad steps between a ramp and staircase. Above the spiral staircase is a glass doomed ceiling which is equally alluring.
3. Longchamp Store Stairs, New York
The staircase at the Longchamp Store in New York was designed by Heatherwick Studio in a “flow and coverage” pattern and it took six months to build. The unique feature of this piece of art is that the 1¼” hot-rolled steel and glass panels forming the steps of the staircase gives it a fabric like fluidity and it appears to be flowing like a silk ribbon. The landscape stairs weigh 55 tonnes and also has magnetic properties that enable attaching of movable lights and display stands with high strength magnets. The balustrades are transparent and are fabricated using aerospace windscreen technology. There is a three storey void cut through the studio which allows the daylight to enter and glaze these amazing stairs.
2. Umschreibung, KPMG Building, Munich, Germany
This looks totally magnificent. Though these stairs won’t lead you anywhere and you reach back to where you started from but they make a wonderful sight for the people at the KPMG building of Munich, Germany. The Umschreibung stairs, where Umschreibung means “rewriting” were designed by Olafur Eliasson and completed in 2004. This 9 metre steel made structure is a marvel in architecture and also looks strikingly gorgeous.
1. Tiger and Turtle – Magic Mountain, Germany
This is totally giving me chills as it looks like a thrilling roller coaster ride. The Tiger and Turtle staircase at a hilltop in Duisberg, Germany, also named the Magic Mountain is 21 metres long and was designed by Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth. This palatial piece of art is accessible for the general public and you can explore the unusual turns of it during both day and night. However, you won’t be able to accomplish the whole staircase as it takes a total 360 degree turn and the loop having the upside down steps is blocked for the walkers. While being a joy sight in its own, the Magic Mountain also promises some extensive views of the Rhine.