Winding modern staircase

Circular, spiral and otherwise winding staircase designs are often at their most awesome when they stick to minimalism in form and structure. Still, as these stairs show, there are ways to combine modern simplicity with a dash of subtle detail or splash of colorful decor. Stairs may be functional, but that doesn’t mean they have to always look utilitarian.

Winding decorative painted stairs

A wrapping, twisting, non-symmetrical white form provides a canvass-like backdrop for a painted tree mural that rotates around the outside of this semi-enclosed stairwell. In some ways, this spiral staircase offers a surprisingly traditional modernist approach: let the structure be the design, then add art on the walls as something extra.

Winding wood concrete stairs

Slightly-stained concrete provides a smooth, solid and modern basis for a quite classic set of wooden treads and risers set within. The addition of small circular lights to illuminate the way also references non-residential stair systems, making the overall effect a curious mix of antique, modern and almost institutional – but not in a bad way. A lack of rails makes it sleek, though potentially dangerous (and probably not in line with the building codes in many places.)

Winding metal and glass stairs

Light and linear, these metal-and-glass stairs from Edico are quite contemporary, but their basic elegance is tempered with the introduction of slight industrial detailing in the form of custom cut-and-bent metal sheets and exposed fasteners. They’re sharp (perhaps literally?) and industrial; the wavy design at the bottom is particularly intriguing for its dynamic feel. It’s an interesting way to bring a sense of movement into what might otherwise feel like a static space.

These creative and unusual spiral staircase designs are like sculptural centerpieces for the spaces in which they’re installed. Not for the faint of heart, they offer a focal point that’s probably best for more minimalist spaces where such a large, in-your-face feature can really shine.