Staircase slide and bookcase staircase
Circular stairs were commonplace in castle towers during medieval times. Staircases were designed to go the same direction all the way around, ascending clockwise, to suit right-handed swordsmen for ease in hindering the attacker. Fast forward to the late 1800s and stair design changes dramatically when steel and reinforced concrete are introduced, and the use of dramatic curves and fantastic sweeps become important elements in staircase workmanship. Even today, stair-crafting ingenuity continues, with many staircases doubling for incredible feats of gravity and eye-popping works of art. (Pics)
“We like to think of them as practical sculptures,” said Geoffrey Packer, a senior designer with EeStairs UK Ltd, a stair supplier based in the United Kingdom specializing in tailor made staircases.
Some stairs stretch the limits of human imagination, says Eva Jiricna, architect and author of Staircases. “Sometimes it is the technical knowledge that sweeps us off our feet, another time the appearance, the form, materials, or specific detailing,” she writes. One set of stairs that accomplishes all of the above: The Ribbon Stairs. This modern staircase, resembling a delicate rippling ribbon, resides in the main living area of a house in Libeñ, Prague, in the Czech Republic. It might appear fragile, but the steps are engineered solid – constructed from 10mm-thick sheet metal.
Other staircases are more memorable for their singularly lavish features. To wit: The 56,500-square foot Spelling Manor, recently snatched up by heiress Petra Ecclestone. The palatial Holmby Hills mega-home touts a grand set of steps resembling the famous stairs from Hollywood classic, Gone With The Wind. The sweeping double staircase elegantly frames a grand entryway and features gold-colored detailing on the face of each step. The home, which has its own dog grooming room, movie theater and salon was on the market for $150 million dollars before being sold to Ecclestone.
Here are five homes with amazing staircases:
One of Geoffrey Packer’s favorite sculptural staircases is Cells®, which EeStairs manufactured and installed in 2011. The staircase is located in a modern house overlooking the sea in Le Havre, France. “The client had seen some of our previous designs and although liked them, felt that the stair was too open and wished for a more closed balustrade structure,” Packer said. “EeStairs was challenged to design a stair with an organic feel that was open, but still felt enclosed.” Using specialist software EeStairs came up with Cells®, Packer said. “It is both geometric and organic simultaneously, allowing both a solid feel that is also pleasing to the eye. The Cells pattern appears many times naturally, from a microscopic level to bee-hives.”
Space saving is the inspiration for a bookcase staircase in an attic apartment that occupies part of the top floor of an existing Victorian mansion in London. “We created a ‘secret’ staircase, hidden from the main reception room, to access a new loft bedroom lit by roof lights,” states the Web site of Levitate, a London based architecture and design studio, which designed it. “Limited by space, we melded the idea of a staircase with our client’s desire for a library to form a ‘library staircase’ in which English oak stair treads and shelves are both completely lined with books on three sides.” People are essentially surrounded by books as they ascend or descend the stairs. A skylight above illuminates the staircase, making it “the perfect place to stop and browse a tome.”
Some staircases are visually appealing and fun, allowing people to get from point A to point B playfully, like this one that has a slide alongside the staircase. This one was designed by Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd Associates, based in London, and was built in an environmentally sustainable, detached 5 bedroom two-storey townhouse built underground, complete with indoor pool and children’s play area. But the fun is not reserved just for kids. Some adults can not resist the temptation to slide down, Michaelis said. “We’ve been known after a big dinner party to use the slide,” the architect told Cookie Magazine.
Spelling Manor Stairs
Location: Los Angeles
The 56,500-square foot mansion bought by heiress Petra Ecclestone touts a grand set of steps resembling the famous stairs from Hollywood classic, Gone With The Wind. The sweeping double staircase frames an opulent chandelier and features gold-colored detailing on the face of each step. The home, which has its own dog grooming room, movie theater and salon was on the market for $150 million dollars before being sold to Ecclestone.
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
This modern staircase, resembling a delicate rippling ribbon, is in the main living area of a house in Liben, Prague, in the Czech Republic. It is constructed from 10mm thick sheet metal, and pairs of adjoining steps connect with an external side joist that forms a bracket anchored to the wall, according to HSH Architects, the Czech based architectural firm that designed it. It looks fragile, but each bracket is constructed as a rigid frame, the firm noted on its Web Site, and the higher steps bear most of the weight, while pressure is transmitted through the lower steps.