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Floating Staircases So Stylish We’re Afraid to Use Them

As an editor, there are many designs that I respect, but that are anathema to my personal taste. One of those is floating stairs. Don’t get me wrong—they’re beautiful, but I just can’t handle the idea of walking up them. Maybe I’ll fall off of them sideways? Maybe I’ll slip somehow, and shoot out of the empty vertical space above each tread where there would ordinarily be some sort of barrier? It’s too risky. I can barely even look at the minimalist designs without imagining sliding to my death. But if anything were to change my structure-loving nature, it would be these floating staircases.

Sarah Virginia White
  • These tetrahedral treads, installed in the Gray Hotel in Milan by Florence architect Guido Ciompi and featured on, feel like a modern take on an M.C. Escher print. 

  • Photo credit: Jon Buono

    In the asymmetrical Walstrom House in Santa Monica, architect John Lautner created angled landscapes full of incredibly lush built-ins. Images courtesy of Wanken.

  • I’m kind of cheating, since this staircase certainly has vertical risers, but if this cantilevered design—outside Osler House by Brazil’s Studio MK27 and spotted on Inthralld—isn’t floating, I don’t know what is.


  • Photo credit: Xavier Lucas

    An historic two-story apartment in Paris was remodeled with a floating stairwell that appears to curve around the room’s 90-degree walls. Designed by French architecture firm École, the treads are supported by steel beams sunk into the wall. 

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