Although our experiences with staircases are fleeting by design, there is still pressure to make them beautiful. Because they're seen from multiple rooms and different levels, there's a lot of room for a great architect to play with scale and structure. And boy, do they deliver. This is gratuitous, unabashed stair porn, and no, we're not sorry.
Click through to view more photos from the architects behind these stunning homes, stores, libraries and museums.
Waves of Wood: This U-Shaped staircase in a Mubai apartment, from Fabio Correa of Mexican Studio Arquitectura en Movimiento, is crafted from walnut and metal.
La Maison Unique: A creative solution to an unusual space in Longchamp's glovbal flagship store in SoHo, New York, designed by Heatherwick Studio.
Book/Stair Case: A multi-functional bookcase and staircase in one, from Veronika and Sebastian's Rental Apartment in London, designed by Levitate Architects. See their full house tour here.
Art Meets Architecture: This sculptural staircase sits in the Art Gallery of Ontario and was designed by Frank Gehry. Part of a redevelopment plan called Transformation AGO, it was constructed in 2004.
Slippery Slope: A staircase and slide in one makes getting around easy in the home of London architect Alex Michaelis of firm Michaelis Boyd. He designed the playful staircase in their new home at the request of his young children.
Seeing Red: The Livraria Lello & Irmão Bookstore in Porto, Portugal, is well known for the intricate red staircase that descends through the center of the store, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal.
Cutting Corners: A narrow passage between the ground floor and attic inspired this diagonal-step staircase crafted from stacked boxes of pine, designed by Gabriella Gustafson & Mattias Ståhlbom of TAF Architects in Stockholm, Sweden.
Work and Playground: Stairs (and a rope swing!) in the Didden Village of Rotterdam, Netherlands, a playful private family home for the Didden clan designed by MVRDV in 2006.
Rippling Ribbon: This delicate floating staircase, designed by HSH Architects, was constructed from 10mm-thick sheet metal for a private home in Liben, Prague, in the Czech Republic.
Spiral Stairs: This modern and dramatic take on rounded stairs was designed by arctitects from the firm gh3 for a home on Russell Hill Road in Toronto.
(Image credits: Nikolas Koenig; Bharath Ramamrutham; Kristin Hohenadel; Art Gallery of Ontario; Alex Michaelis; Ilya Varamov; TAF Arkitektkontor; MVRDV; HSH Architects; gh3)