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Stairs are a notorious point of tension between building code creators and trendy modern designers. Complex codes revolving around safety concerns can require everything from certain kinds of handrails to heavy-duty truss-like structural supports and often make it hard to create anything catering to a minimalist aesthetic.


That said, clever staircases like this Genetic Stair by Caliper Studio can make the most of a difficult interior design situation. What was initially a complication became a great design opportunity – these stairs are now the structural and visual centerpiece of this otherwise minimally decorated Manhattan apartment.


The zig-zagging metal framework supporting the floating white stairs also distracts from the necessary glass to infill between the railings and treads – further enhancing the illusion that the rail bars are floating alone in space.


Even more important than the complicated forms new three-dimensional computer modeling allows in architectural and interior design processes are the ways in which these models can be safety-tested. A few years back no building inspector could have said whether or not these are safe, but computer calculations can now demonstrate whether non-uniform, three-dimensionally-complex built forms comply with codes.