Functional Sculpture: The World’s Most Beautiful Staircases

updated May 3, 2019
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When is a staircase more than just a staircase? When standout details like these take stairs from just a convenient way to move from one floor to another and into the realm of functional sculpture. Whether there’s a remodel in your future or you’re just an architectural junkie, you’ll find plenty to love about these beautiful staircases.

(Image credit: Archinet)

Above: A particularly striking staircase in a Seattle home from Archinet. The bannisters blend visually with the black wall, so the stairs themselves almost seem suspended in midair.

(Image credit: The D Pages)

Like some of the best designs, this stair rail, spotted on The D Pages, is both beautiful and incredibly simple.

(Image credit: Brownstoner)

In this New York apartment, spotted on Brownstoner, the staircase becomes part of a whole wall of sculptural elements. (And, for you sticklers out there, no, this probably doesn’t meet code, since there is no railing.)

→ The World’s Most Beautiful (and Terrifying) Stairs

(Image credit: Tectonica)

In this design from Tectonica, the members supporting the risers (called ‘stringers’) become an important part of the design itself.

(Image credit: MCK Architects)

From MCK Architects, here’s another staircase where the underside is more than worth looking at. I love how the ballusters also become support elements.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Kimberly)

Layers of moldings make for a railing that’s both unique and beautiful in this interior by Elizabeth Kimberly.

(Image credit: Faithfull Travels)

A beautifully tiled staircase landing at a hotel in Tulum, spotted on Faithfull Travels.

(Image credit: A Quiet Style)

This staircase, spotted on A Quiet Style, combines concrete with wood for a look that’s modern yet warm.

(Image credit: The D Pages)

Spotted on The D Pages, a gorgeous staircase/railing combo: minimal but with hints of art deco.

(Image credit: Arch Daily)

Glass railings give this stair from Arch Daily all the breaktaking magic of a scary staircase, but with a little less danger.

(Image credit: Kelly Deck Design)

A beautiful ballustrade detail from Kelly Deck Design, via their Instagram.

(Image credit: Archiproducts)

And finally, a gorgeous suspended staircase, from Archiproducts via Apartment Therapy.