In the accessible design world there are two design terms that people tend to get mixed up. Universal Design and Aging in Place. Universal design is meant so that a designed space can be used universally by everyone. Aging in place is meant to prepare a designed space to become elderly friendly. One of the design principles of aging in place is having lighted stairways (think of lighted movie theater steps). The reason is because as we age, our vision becomes weaker and contrast is harder to see. So when going up and down stairs at night, being able to see the steps clearly is a safety issue. Because falling down stairs can lead to serious injury or death. Here I’m featuring a few examples of lighted stairways with great design.
An Onyx Slam
This first set of stairs is by Architectural Justice who specialize in granite. The risers of the stairs are made of onyx. Onyx is that crystalized stone with beautiful contours that are usually displayed in thin slices for decoration. Here the onyx is sliced thin enough for lights to shine through. Creating a kind of orange-ish wood grain glow. Giving a nice contrast to the darker wood treads.
Pattern of Light
Next is a set of outdoor deck stairs that was featured by the Taunton Press. Again the treads and risers have high contrast with darker treads and lighter risers. Lights again are also placed behind the risers to shine light through. But here each riser has a unique pattern cut in to let the light through. A series of straight lines and squares in different patterns to create interest.
Light and To The Side
Last up is this stairway by the Broadmore Builders. Different from the previous stairways, this one has lighter colored treads and darker risers. Small pinhole like lights are placed in the risers which contrasts well with the black color. Then built into the outside wall are more fixtures the wash light downward. Creating a lighted and safer path.
All of these stairways function well to give a lighted path up and down the stairs. With extra design to make them beautiful along with functional. Click on the links above to see more of each company’s portfolio.