Great designers often take inspiration from the wonders of the natural world or build on iconic designs that have gone before. There are plenty of amazing places to look for fantastic new ideas. Here are six incredible sights that all involve stairs to help create architecturally inspired design.
Located in the city of Porto, Portugal, Livrario Lello is one of the most amazing bookstores in the entire world. And its most stunning feature is the opulent red staircase winding through the shop. The bright red steps and ornate wooden railings epitomize the Art Nouveau style at the turn of the 20th century. And this is appropriate given that Livrario Lello is also one of the oldest bookshops first opened in 1901. The staircase also incorporates Gothic Revival elements.
2. Stairs to the Sea, Spain
If you would rather take a hike than just walk up a couple of flights, visit the beautiful staircase trail on the Island of Gastelugache. The island sits in the Bay of Biscay in Spain and has 237 zigzagging steps leading up the rocky peak to a hermitage which was built in the 10th century. The beautiful contrast of the gray rock, green hills and ice blue sea below is stunning.
Translated as the “stage of dreams,” this memorial on Awaji Island, Japan commemorates the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995 with 100 squares of terraced gardens and 100 corresponding staircases. The entire monument forms a complex of structures within the tiered garden which has planted beds of various plants. And it serves as a modern marriage of geometry and gardening.
4. Tiger and Turtle, Germany
MagicMountain in Duisburg, Germany boasts the sculptural staircase known as the Tiger and Turtle winds in loops and curves with 249 steps. Designed by artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth, the crazy stairway is an interactive sculpture open for visitors to walk through. And from its steps are offered incredible views of the RhineRiver.
5. Tyayhan, China
If you thought spiral stairs were scary, then you should visit the spiral staircase Tyayhan in Lichzhou, China. This tightly winding column of stairs stretches straight up the side of a cliff. It is quite a hike with the wind, flying birds and creaking steps as you ascend 91.5 meters alongside the mountainside. Intrepid explorers can essentially experience extreme rock climbing with limited risks. And it is definitely more exciting than an elevator.
6. Piano Stairs, China
Also in China but this time indoors, the WulinPlaza in Hangzhou decided to create a musical atmosphere. How? By building a staircase with piano key steps. Painted white with black sharp and flat keys, each of the 54 steps actually makes the sound of the right musical note when stood upon. The staircase was reportedly designed to encourage walkers to choose the stairs instead of the adjacent escalator.
These incredible architectural wonders are fantastic places to visit and wonderful sources for design inspiration.
Images from www.flickr.com, www.interestingworld.org, audaxdesign.co.uk, www.latimes.com and designlike.com