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5 Amazing Staircase Designs

In their most basic function, staircases are simply a practical way of travelling from floor to floor. With ergonomics usually favoured over style, often little thought is given to the shape and design of stairs outside of ensuring that they are safe and built to regulated standards.

However, creating a feature out of staircases can transform a building, offering a spectacular focal point that can also dramatically affect ambience and character. Production of ornate and extravagantly designed staircases is not a recent phenomenon, either. Selinunte, an ancient Greek city located in southern Sicily, is home to the imaginatively titled Temple A. Constructed in 480 BC, the building is home to one of the first known examples of a spiral staircase design, with two set of twisting stairs still visible in the ruins almost 2,500 years later.

Here are a few recent examples of some of the world’s more impressive staircase transformations…

1.    Museum of Islamic Art Staircase, Doha, Qatar

Perhaps inspired by M C Escher’s famous perspective drawings featuring stairs that don’t seem to follow the laws of physics, the twisted double staircase at Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art was opened in 2008. Designed by I M Pei, it serves as the centrepiece of the museum’s ancient Islamic-inspired architecture.


2.    Tiger & Turtle—Magic Mountain, Duisburg, Germany

Despite having the appearance of a stomach-churning rollercoaster, Duisburg’s Tiger & Turtle, designed by German artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth, is actually a staircase, providing fantastic views of the Rhine from its 249 steps. The stairs are even open at night, with LED-lit handrails for illumination – although the upside-down sections of the loops are unfortunately inaccessible, in case you were wondering!


3.    Heaven’s Gate Mountain, Zhangjiajie City, China

The Heaven’s Gate stairs in China allow for passage through one of Zhangjiajie’s mountains in the most spectacular fashion, snaking its way through a 400 foot hole that is the result of a cliff collapse many years ago. Constructed from 999 steps (the number 9 in Mandarin has the same pronunciation as the word for ‘eternal’), even just being able to access the staircase itself requires either a 4,000 foot high cable car ride or a bus along a mountain pass so twisted it is known as the Dragon’s Back!


4.    Armani Store, New York City

The winding staircase at Armani’s flagship Manhattan store oozes the same sense of style as the designer that bears its name. Coated in pure white plastic, the stairs are the brainchild of Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, and allows customers to access over 43,000 square feet of clothes, handbags, shoes, suits and even the store’s own restaurant and chocolate shop.


5.    Stairway to Heaven, Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii’s Haʻikū Stairs, known commonly as the Stairway to Heaven, was initially built during the Second World War as a way to string antenna cables over the deep Haʻikū valley, before being decommissioned in the 1950s, and eventually closed to the public over safety concerns in 1987.

Despite being repaired in 2003, disputes over usage of the land have yet to be resolved and the stairs officially remain off limits to the public – a warning ignored by many, nonetheless.


NK Lofts

Although your home may not be able to house such large scale construction, here at NK Lofts we provide high quality staircase design and installation to suit all loft conversions. Our expert team are fully trained, and carry out all work to the highest standard at competitive rates.

So for more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.