Some materials have, for a long time, been used only in a commercial or industrial capacity and not in homes. Hardwoods work best in residential spaces because they can't sufficiently endure the heavy traffic or wear that may be found in a workplace. On the flip side, metals are a more durable option, yet they have a much colder look than a premium wood might. Another material that is a new feature in both settings is using glass on the stairs, as the delicate nature of this substance is hard to implement in any setting where it will be required to bear loads.
Architects have been pushing the envelope of late in implementing glass in the staircases of both homes and businesses. While it may seem illogical to place a glass staircase in the core of a popular retail establishment, one company thought it was a novel idea and hired engineers to create a flight that could handle the foot traffic.
The Apple Store in Boston, Massachusetts, features a large curving staircase at the core of its three-story flagship store in the city's popular Back Bay shopping district. The stair features not only a clear glass and steel balustrade, but tinted glass treads that shoppers can walk on as they seemingly float from one level of the store to the other. Thanks to an innovative load-bearing approach that connects the treads to the core of the building through steel rods, there are no risers going up the length of the structure, making it an extremely unique feature for a retail establishment.
Now even homeowners are increasingly diversifying the materials in their residences, including glass and steel. A stainless glass railing like the kind sold by Stair Parts USA gives a chic look to any entryway that will set it apart from a traditional home.
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