Trippy staircases: an unfortunate choice of words? Perhaps. But there are none better to describe the sheer mind-bending oddness of what some architects choose to do with this fundamental component of the home. The capacity of the staircase to mess with perception is a widely documented and long noted phenomenon; just ask M.C. Escher (or his ghost, rather). For those with a mind for logical puzzles – so pretty much every architect ever, then – the many angles, bends and turns of the traditional staircase offer countless opportunities for play that can prove hard to resist. Here are just a few staircases whose designers clearly gave into the desire to do something very different with this type of item.
All white is the perfect colour scheme for this surreal staircase that comes in two twin parts. The lack of colour variation makes the set-up seem all the stranger. The effect is also enhanced by the very thin form of the staircase itself, which appears almost too insubstantial to support a human body (though of course it can’t be).
These widely set steps would be a nightmare for those who suffer from vertigo – all the more so since they appear to be entirely unsupported from the sides as well as from the bottom, thanks to the glass panels that hold them up. The effect is that each step appears to hover magically in the air. It’s a wonderfully minimalist take on the staircase that makes a statement without being too much of a distraction from the rest of the living room.
Although this staircase does have a clear supporting wall, it goes even further in stripping back the staircase to its most fundamental elements. There’s no handrail here, so anyone who’s a bit prone to clumsiness would be well advised to steer clear. Although the practicalities of this design are up for debate, there’s no denying that it’s incredibly visually arresting, the bold dark steps standing out intensely black against the white of the wall behind.
The spiral staircase is nothing new, but this particular example ups the level of twist and the angle of the steps to the point where its verging on being closer to a helter-skelter than a set of stairs.
This vertical garden forms a marvellously unlikely backdrop to these simple cement stairs. With the simple addition of a highly incongruous element such as grass on a wall, a relatively straightforward interior can be turned into something that could easily have come from the imagination of Lewis Carroll.
In this case, the steps themselves are fairly conventional; it’s the tangled mass of railings beneath and alongside them that might cause those looking on to do a double take. In a way, this could be one of the most sensible paths to staircase trippiness, since a bizarre effect has been achieved without compromising the usability of the steps themselves.
If this list has put you in the mood for more interesting and original designs, take a look at this ideabook full of wonderfully unique staircases.