There's something about a staircase that has a way of capturing the imagination. They also happen to be a real opportunity in a home or building for an architect to have a little fun. Sure, they're a means for moving floor to floor, but they can be so, so much more. The talented designers and architects of the staircases that follow—though we recommend having a little fun and stretching your design noggin by taking our which is which quiz first!—have made going from one floor to another a truly transcendent experience.
Above: Perhaps one of the most famous staircases from one of America's most famous homes: The stairs at Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, leading down to the river. Image from Arch Daily.
Walker Court in the Art Gallery of Ontario, designed by Frank Gehry. This serpentine staircase is truly a work of art.
A Shanghai showroom by Zaha Hadid, spotted on Behance. The late, amazingly great starchitect was known for her gravity-bending ideas, and this marvel is a feast for the eyes, reminding us of a modern day version of Escher's Penrose stairs—it's hard to see where these steps start and end.
A staircase at Antoni Gaudí's Casa Batlló in Barcelona, spotted on Arch Daily. The curving bannister is reminiscent of a spine, which is perhaps the perfect metaphor for what a staircase is in a home.
Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, spotted on Divisare.
A monolithic staircase in a Sri Lanka home by Tadao Ando, spotted on Dezeen.
Carlo Scarpa, famous for his beautiful work in concrete, designed this staircase at a Venice showroom. Spotted on Arch Daily.
A staircase at Alvar Aalto's Villa Mairea, spotted on Voussoirs.