Beautiful Steps #2
Stairs---usually spiral stairs, but not always---are a gateway drug to architecture. (That and infinity pools.) They're easy on the eyes and don't require the tortured exegesis that many architects resort to when their designs can't speak for themselves. From a designer's standpoint, the right staircase packs a lot of punch with little energy or fuss, meaning you can use it in a pinch or in a tight spot (literally).
Swiss artists Lang/Baumann love stairs. The duo has devoted an entire project on the theme, a series of Surrealist scenarios that could easily be nightmares. Stairs of all shapes and styles are, it needs to be said, physically suspended---no Photoshop here---from the sides of towers and coiled around castle turrets, found hovering in art galleries and shooting down palazzo halls. Click through for more stair porn.
Beautiful Steps #5
The "Beautiful Steps" in question vary in form and material that's dependent on their presentation. The higher the stairs are and the most precarious their placement seems, the thinner the form they take. Others, like iteration #9---the latest in the series---assume a more substantial shape. While some of the stairs appear to have seen some use (see the crazy person in the lead photo), we wouldn't recommend it, lest you enjoy taking your life in your own hands for fun. The stairs were each constructed as one of an on-going series of installations. See them all at Lang/Baumann's site.
Beautiful Steps #9
Beautiful Steps #3 (Trautenfels)
Beautiful Steps #5; All photos Lang/Baumann via