Modern stairs take the next step -
By Daya Kingston
Steps that seem to float in the air or staircases that are suspended on impossibly thin metal wires are no longer the figments of a fertile imagination. Contemporary staircases have transcended the limitations of imagination and are now being designed to be a part of the overall design element of a room, rather than a standalone element.
M. Murali, Chief Architect of Murali Architects finds that, "Today staircases are looked at as sculptures. The days of the heavy masonry staircase are over. Contemporary staircases are light and follow minimalistic lines. Think suspended staircases of glass and steel that are dramatically suspended from the ceiling with steel ropes complemented by steps made from toughened glass. The folded plate staircase is another interesting innovation, where the staircase is made of steel and concrete but crafted thin like a paper folding. It ushers in a sense of spaciousness and elegance to a room. "
Perforated steel is a trendy new option to cover the surface of stairs. Conventional white marble is also being replaced by yellow marble from Jaisalmer as this is practically more easier to maintain than white marble and more affordable too.
Hand rails of a staircase can be turned into an eye-catching element. Steel ropes as hand rails are very sleek and modern, if one wishes to jazz this up, colourful beads can be added. A steel frame filled with glass or just plain glass rails are in vogue.
Staircases in bright cheery colours like flaming yellows and oranges, bright pinks and greens can add just the right amount of drama to a home.
Textured paints, exposed brick work or even stone blocks can work for this space. Lighting can intensify the effect of any staircase, LED lights in every other stair working in a synchronized pattern can make an interesting impact. Recessed lighting can wash the steps with light making it look attractive. Large skylights can bring the freshness of the outdoors right in.
A staircase need not be just a boring space, add a niche with an artefact and pelmet lighting and it become a focal point, one can even go further and add an alcove that showcases a large artefact in the landing. A staircase space in a double height home can be enhanced by stringing colourful mobiles like birds from the ceiling.
A great idea for the landing space is to add in some shelves and show off a book collection here or use the walls to display family photos.
Art enthusiasts can turn this into a mural wall or a gallery of paintings. The landing can even be extended a bit to include a lounge and a large window making it a great spot for informal chat sessions.
If the steps are made larger with a width of three feet or more, the stairs can be made the venue of an impromptu amphitheater.
With a little planning, the staircase can into an interesting bridge that links people together!