Do you think about staircase designs often? Check out these impressive examples, and you’ll find yourself looking at stairs differently in future!

At one level, staircase designs are nothing special – after all, surely there’s not much you can do with a basic set of treads and risers? Actually, anything but . . . Once we started looking, we discovered staircase designs can be as creative as any other discipline.

Take a look at 9 of our favourites, which we’ve commented on below the gallery. Click on any of the images to open up a larger-sized slideshow.

Enjoy!

Zayah World Gallery of Memorable Staircase Designs

We really liked the engineering design challenge of constructing a spiral that supports itself, as solved by Inigo Jones in the Queen’s House.  And we were fascinated by the optical illusion that makes the Potemkin’s Stairs look longer than they actually are.

Perhaps not an optical illusion, but ascending the Vatican Museum’s double helix staircase is a slightly strange experience. You’re aware of people around you going both up and down, despite being on a one-way path.  It’s not at all obvious there are two staircases until you pause and look carefully.

As with so many aspects of modern design, the ancient Egyptians and early Chinese dynasties were there many centuries before us.  There are many examples still around today showing they were familiar with the theory, and able to create impressive, enduring staircase designs, as at Gizeh and Mutianyu, that we’d be hard-pushed to recreate today, even with our technology.

From the ancient to the modern, it was great to see that a creative, bold design like London’s City Hall isn’t just about the outside.

When trying to choose our favourite, we thought hard about the amazing 4-story Chand Baori well in India, and the unbelievable Tianmen Mountain staircase, exposing the sky on the other side.

But our pick has to be the perspex-bottomed “Walk of Faith” 1430m up the side of the same Chinese mountain.  Apparently, tourists are routinely terrified as they traverse the 60m path, clinging to the mountainside!