Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 16, Tuesday, September 16, 2003


























sculptural stairs

TIME is a precious commodity, everything is our life in geared to saving time, speeding up our work, and moving quickly from one place to another. In public buildings, shopping malls, private apartments lifts and escalators are main source of vertical transport for convenience and speed. Staircases are secondary and designed for utilitarian needs.

A staircase is of course a functional structure that allows accent from one level to another. But think of a staircase as a piece of furniture and the possibilities are endless. Traveling from A to B is necessary but the journey should be rewarding. Stairs are unique structures. Whether it's a staircase of a duplex apartment or a shopping mall, emphasizing and taking time to design it is worthwhile.

Stairs are distinctive structures in the home. It is a place from which you can really appreciate and emphasize height. Painting a single wall from the ground floor up to the top in a striking colour can be all that is needed to bring this dimension into focus. A well-filled floor-to-ceiling bookcase, accessible from various levels up the stairs, will have the same effect.

Stairs are subjected to a lot of wear and tear. Choose materials that are tough, non-slip and good-looking, too. Marble, tiles, carpet or wood are the most obvious choices. Think about the details of the handrail, balustrades and treads because we come into contact with these materials. These materials not only give a visual look but also the feeling of the stairs. If your flooring is going up more than one flight of stairs, keep to the same choice from the bottom to top for uniformity. If you change the flooring at each landing, you will break up the sense of continuity.

Like the entrance foyer, the staircase is just the place to indulge in décor you would not contemplate elsewhere. But remember that this is a connecting part of your home, which should have relevance to the rooms it adjoins. Continuity and flow will be lost if it is outrageously alien to your other choices. Keeping this in mind, two flights of step, separated by a small landing and window, do present an opportunity for a more dramatic feature that will not impinge on other rooms. This is the perfect location for a piece of sculpture, a special painting, or a one-off window treatment. A single stairway is a neat spot for a collection of photographs or pottery, which will add personality.

A conventional staircase can sometimes be a big, bulky object that can dominate an entire floor in a small home. Spiral stairs, however, could solve the problem. A spiral staircase, with open treads and balustrade will both physically and visually take up less space. You can see through its many gaps to the room beyond, and maybe further out to a foyer or bedroom. Even if your room is a regular rectangle with no individuality, the spiral form will produce a wonderful sense of movement and flow, loosening the whole atmosphere. Clever lighting can also accentuate the architectural elegance of the structure. Halogen spotlights fitted to a circular track directly above the stairs will give you the delightful sensation of walking through a ring of lights as you climb up.

For further details/information on this article or previous articles, contact Architect Rumana Malik email: afmalik@bangla.net.













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