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A bespoke staircase is a custom staircase made specifically for a particular building. The staircase might be based on an individual's idea for a unique set of stairs in his or her home or business, or it might be based on staircase designs provided by a contractor. Plans must be drawn according to precise specifications before a bespoke staircase can be installed. Such plans need to take into account many considerations.
Different styles of bespoke staircases are based on desired materials, site-specific architectural concerns, what has been built before, and the limits of imagination. The end result, however, is almost always a functional means of getting from one floor to the next. Custom or bespoke staircases are built by many contractors around the world.
Plans for a bespoke staircase must take into account the architectural space of the building in which the staircase is going to be built. Different types of staircases will work best depending on the space and the intended aesthetic. These can include a long straight staircase that emphasizes distance as it rises, a half-turn staircase makes simple a 180-degree turn after reaching a landing, and a spiral staircase that coils around a pole and takes up a minimum amount of floor space.
Other shapes include circular staircases that climb around the walls of circular rooms and V-shaped staircases that arrive at a single point. A grand staircase might split into two before reaching opposite sides of a mezzanine. One unique design is based on a helical pattern in which users are described as being almost unaware of any change in elevation as they climb or descend the stairs.
Bespoke staircase materials include wood, metal, glass, concrete, marble, and many composites or plastics. Conventional designs might call for handcrafted wood and include decorative balusters, spindles, and newels. On the other hand, a contemporary custom staircase might be extremely minimalistic and have an industrial aesthetic with no classical decorative elements. It all depends on the customer and designer.
Some staircases are walled in, while others are open beneath. In certain cases, the basic architectural elements of a bespoke staircase are modified or minimized to create an effect. This might include making the risers out of glass so that only the treads are obviously visible. This effect makes the stairs seem to float in the air. Very minimal stairs whose treads are actually connected to the wall might not need risers. When such stairs are also built with no guardrail or handrail, they may look like stepping stones rising up to the next story.