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Staircase Trends | Spring 2018

On the subject of Staircase Trends

A trend is a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Sometimes the trend is obvious and driven quickly by a new technology to the market, but sometimes so gradual its only apparent upon reflection.

Staircase trends is a subject I get asked about frequently and each time it makes me refocus on conversations with both clients and the Bisca team. What are they seeing, experiencing, noticing, designing, buying, working with, being asked for?

Recently staircase trends have, in some respects, mirrored trends in home interior design. Previous “solutions” (flooring, lighting, heating) are now considered within a cohesive interior design.

Innovation in floor finishes has revolutionised timber supply; this quickly translated to clients asking for washed, raised grain, pigment or specialist finished treads as part of their stair design.

Georgian Renaissance

Simple, elegant and classical, Georgian architecture is enjoying a renaissance. The influence on staircase design translates to clean lines, simplicity and authentic detailing. Echoing the grand formality of the time, this sort of design is eternally popular in period properties, but over the last couple of years the number of enquiries for this style has increased noticeably.

Brash and Bling vs Tactile and Timeless

On the other hand, a strong but gradual trend is that brash and bling has made way for tactile and timeless. The staircases of the late 1990’s of glass and steel have given way to handcrafted and natural – which continues to be important.

Ten years ago, 75% of Bisca’s handrails were stainless steel and only 25% timber or leather. Five years ago, stainless steel handrails rarely featured in our designs at all.  Mid 2017 we had a few clients considering them as options. Fast forward to Spring 2018 and its clear that steel handrails are once more in vogue. Today’s consumers however are more than savvy enough to distinguish between mass produced and bespoke product and quality of finish is importance.

Bronze & Semi-Precious Metals

This time around though, steel is not the only story. Handrails and balustrades of bronze and semi-precious metals are becoming popular. Like steel, bronze is a versatile material and lends itself to a variety of finishes including forged, antiqued, aged, sputter, burnished, cast or patinas to name but a few.

Subtle Design Expertise

Today’s staircase design requires a subtler approach to the use of both glass and lighting. Visible fixings on glass are extremely undesirable and totally unnecessary if designed well.

Recent innovation in LED lighting has opened up lighting design possibilities as far as stairs are concerned. 10 years ago inset wall lights were popular; today these wall lights still exist, but usually as part of a wider lighting scheme.

Another major shift in staircase lighting is the move from feature lighting to lighting the staircase as a feature. There is a subtle difference on paper, but a huge difference when viewing the end result. The former uses lights that are a feature in themselves, whilst the latter uses discreet ambient lighting in way that illuminates the whole area.

To find out what is possible in your own space, send in your plans or give us a call; lets start something new!

Richard McLane

Design Director, Bisca