Stairs can be art

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As a new feature for 2013, StairPorn.org will be accepting guest blogs from our readers and contributors.

Our first guest blog discusses staircases as an artistic statement – and is written by EeStairs’ Creative Director, Cornelis van Vlastuin.

The renowned painter James Whistler once wrote that “an artist is not paid for his labour but for his vision.” How right he was!

To the undiscerning eye they provide a necessary function within any building: they help you go up, and they help you go down. The landmark design statements are secondary and are probably best left for other elements within the building. But for those who know different – architects, designers and even art lovers – we know that stairs have the power to move, emotionally as well as literally.

Conceived and create properly, stairs can be art in its purest and simplest form. From the sweeping curves of the helical staircase at the Vatican Museum in Italy (http://bit.ly/neTKp), to the stunning modernity of the Garvan Institute in Australia (http://bit.ly/Ve3K22) and the almost Escher-like quality of the sweeping red treads of the grand staircase in the Lello Bookshop in Portugal (http://bit.ly/X6Ruyl), simply looking at the movement and the design can create feelings every bit as intense as a painting or a sculpture.

These and other great examples of the stair designer’s art confirm that experimentation has been the hallmark of the designer throughout the centuries, in terms of materials, colours, meeting space constraints or creating different forms and structures. And so it continues. Today, cutting edge stair designers like those at EeStairs maintain that heritage of artistic development, creating new sensations in timber, glass and even carbon fibre, and new paint, oil and lacquer finishes that enhance the beauty of oak or walnut or whatever other wood has been selected.

We experiment in using materials that reflect both the personalities of the architects that create the buildings as well as the values of those who commission them. Bamboo has been used to create effects that underpin a client’s sustainable credentials (http://on.fb.me/VhH4vf) whilst carbon fibre and steel finishes have create dynamic looks that speak to a client’s desire to be at the leading edge and push design boundaries.

But unlike pure art, which can sometimes be accused of self-indulgence, even grandiose for the sake of it, the work of the stair designer has to be usable. The finish must be immaculate; the effect must be impressive but the structure, first and foremost, must always be practical and must always ensure that what goes up can always safely come down again.

by Cornelis van Vlastuin, Creative Director of EeStairs

www.eestairs.com