They call it a floating staircase. It’s a thing, they say. It’s an interior design feature, an optical illusion. But still, I can’t shake the disturbing feeling that stairs simply shouldn’t be doing that – hovering in midair, that is. That’s not how I was brought up. I can’t condone stairs that aren’t firmly affixed to both floor and balustrades, and visibly so.
Truth be told, spiral staircases freak me out, as do ladders. I could never go up into a lighthouse, or even a tree house. I don’t trust a sharp incline, or an absence of demonstrable under-step support. It just doesn’t feel stable, or at least, it doesn’t look stable. I’m not that comfortable with transparent materials, either. I can’t imagine what would possess anyone to go for, say, frameless glass balustrades. Within Melbourne, interior designers must have a taste for danger, or maybe they’re tapping into the collective l’appel du vide.
Me? I just like to feel like my feet are firmly on solid, suitably supported ground, and that a foot put wrong isn’t likely to send me tumbling to my untimely demise. Is that so much to ask? Apparently it is, the way everyone’s trying to talk me round to the benefits of floating staircases. Wooden balustrades are old hat, I’m told. Well, if wanting visible safety mechanisms makes me old hat, then so be it.
None of the glass replacement businesses I’ve called seem willing to get involved in swapping out the balustrades for wooden ones. That’s fair, given that their speciality is glass, but still, what’s a safety-conscious guy to do? I guess I have to get the glaziers in to pull out the glass, then a carpenter in to put in the new balustrades, and in between… what? Anyone could walk up the stairs with no balustrade at all. I don’t even want to think about that.
And that’s not even beginning to address the floating steps situation. That just shouldn’t be a thing to begin with.