Staircases capture the imagination. As both literal and figurative paths, stairs allude to other spaces as transitional and connective elements. Symbolically, they can suggest movement, discovery or a turning point. They grant access between levels as a form of vertical circulation that holds its own inherent power. Through ascension we can rise to new heights; through descent we may uncover new lows. Staircases are striking centerpieces that have been continuously reimagined. Today, modern stairs are designed to be as functional as they are sculptural, balancing innovation and elegance.
Floating staircases appear as weightless steps seemingly devoid of structure or support. Using cantilevers, reinforcement or thoughtfully composed rails, these contemporary designs are made as minimalist vertical expressions. Each of the following 10 projects from the Architizer database features a unique floating staircase. Whether built with industrial materials or raw, elemental aesthetics, the stairs combine craft and detailing to form novel experiences. Like walking on air, each design creates a rare moment of wonder and surprise.
Formed as a small spa space and rock terrace, the Tent project provides an escape from the region’s intense heat. The large, structural steeped roof blocks sunlight while an elegant floating stair descends from a net space to the pools and terrace below.
Made with careful consideration of its context, the Moscova house was built as a rectangular volume that reinterprets the ‘telescope’ organization of ancient palaces. Oriented on an axis with views onto the skyline of Porta Garibaldi, the project is structured around a staircase system that grants access from each room to any part of the house, on both levels.
Located along the beach on the northern coast of São Paulo, the White House project considers comfort and building maintenance in its tropical context. Wooden perforated doors combine with a floating stair that ascends to the living quarters above.
NEUT was built around the client’s joy of listening to music. Designed with multiple sound buffers, the project features stairs that float between glass and concrete spatial dividers. Outside, horizontal wooden slats and louvers delineate balcony space while accentuating interior space.
Located in the City of “Hizen Hamashuku,” the Fukuchiyo Sake Brewery is sited close to the Ariake Sea. Building upon the old port city fabric, the renovation transformed a former rice mill into a tasting and brewing gallery. Stairs were designed that allow circulation between viewing areas and spaces to mingle.
Emerging from Osaka’s urban fabric, this residence rises from a context of factories, office buildings and small houses. Organized around a family room and skylight, the project’s floating stairs are made as open boxes that allow light to filter between multiple levels.
Levering Trade embraces an industrial aesthetic and tectonic expression through a sawtooth roof and Vierendeel beams. Made with repetition and variation, a steel lattice work and double height ward form the interior space, while an elegant staircase connects the warehouse to private offices and meeting rooms.
Penthouse “bmt” is sited in the building Eurovea along the river Danube. Social areas were organized above living quarters, connected by an impressive wooden staircase that is cantilevered to create the floating aesthetic.
Built in Abiko City, this residence was designed as a gallery-like concrete space with signature furniture. Three-dimensional, continuous slanted surfaces create a monocoque form around the floating staircase within.
L4 House was designed as a short-term stay residence and rental property. Located in Costa Esmeralda, the house is sited in the Marítimo II barrio parallel to the sea. Conceived as an autonomous sculptural element, the staircase was formed as a striking concrete feature that descends into the living quarters.