Yes, this stunning and scary staircase is real. While this stairway in the heavens will not carry you all the way to the clouds, these sensational metal steps can certainly take you to the afterlife quite quickly should you miss a stair while out for a walk.
While these stairs truly are attached to the exterior concrete wall of this towering Swiss skyscraper over ten stories off the ground, they are not actually used by anyone – they are, instead, the work of conceptual artists and architects (and now: spectacular staircase designers) Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann.
Hanging high in the sky from the side of a building without so much as handrail, this staircase is dizzying just from the photos. Of course, no one knows it is ‘only art’ upon an initial sighting – clean, silver, metallic and set to connect two apparent doors, this sleek set of stairs looks like some crazy construction slip-up on when seen at first glance from street level far below.
“The congress building in Biel-Bienne plays a trick on perception: because the diminutive grid of its large glass front does not match the ceiling height of the floors, the building appears taller than it is—more like a skyscraper than its actual 50 meters (164 foot) of height. The building also features an unusual concrete structure that encloses one half of the volume like an oversize frame, leaving a gap on one side between itself and the building. On this pillar, almost three-quarters of the way up, an aluminum stair was attached, leading from one fake door to another around one corner of the structure. In keeping with the optical illusion of the building, the work was built to a slightly smaller scale than a normal door and stair. The slender sculpture plays with an imaginary functionality.”