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Inherently functional staircases in both traditional and modern residences have been transformed into artistic statements by architect Richard Landry

When stairs become sculpture – these examples by
When stairs become sculpture – these examples by Richard Landry Design take staircases to the next level.

Designed by Landry Design Group (LDG)

Story from Barbara Pressman

The staircase is first-and-foremost a functional element, but Los Angeles-based Landry Design Group  has unlocked its tremendous creative potential. The award-winning architectural firm is known worldwide for meticulous interpretations of traditional European styles, bold expressions of Modernism, and a unique transitional style that harmonises disparate themes.

Explaining that the staircase means different things to different people, Landry says: “For some owners, it’s a functional, discreet feature, while for others it makes a statement.”

In a traditional French-inspired home, a grand staircase can fulfil a homeowner’s dreams while modern environments provide opportunities to create something sculptural, says the architect, who adds, “The staircase’s significance varies because it’s a personal feature.”

“The staircase is a reflection of the style of the house and should connect to the design of the residence itself,” says Landry.

For Villa Del Lago, an Italian-style country home in the Santa Monica Mountains, Landry says, “We brought the stone from the exterior inside the stair tower, and the railing is appropriate to that language.”


Architect Richard Landry: "For this Italian-style country home,
Architect Richard Landry: "For this Italian-style country home, we brought the stone from the exterior inside the stair tower."

But at the Collingwood Residence in the Hollywood Hills, a sleek monument to modernism, the staircase doubles as a piece of sculpture, wrapped by an exterior glass wall and supported by a structural spine underneath that makes it appear to float.

For this home in the Hollywood Hills, the
For this home in the Hollywood Hills, the staircase is wrapped by an exterior glass wall and supported by a structural spine that makes it appear to float

At Tower Road, an LDG-designed residence in Beverly Hills, the staircase is not viewed in isolation but echoes the home’s prevailing curvilinear theme.

“As you come upon it and ascend it, you feel the wave in the Zaha Hadid-designed marble panels and how it changes; the movement in the wall is exciting,” says Landry.

Big picture – for this LDG-designed residence in
Big picture – for this LDG-designed residence in Beverly Hills, the staircase echoes the home’s prevailing curvilinear theme.

“At a lake house in Michigan, which draws from the essence of regional precedents, we created a stair that doubles as a wine cellar, with the bottles displayed as art,” says Landry of an opportunity to combine two functional yet compelling elements.

The backlit wine racks with glass doors contribute a more contemporary aesthetic to an otherwise traditional, wood picket stair. 

"For this Michigan lake house we created a
"For this Michigan lake house we created a stair that doubles as a wine cellar, with the bottles displayed as art,” says architect Richard Landry.

In Los Angeles, LDG designed a home for superstar quarterback Tom Brady and his supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen, who favoured a French château-style residence but envisioned a more casual California environment where their family could be comfortable.

“We created a home where even the most formal Old World spaces emanate a casual tone,” says Landry.

One component is the graceful staircase, lined with bespoke wrought iron pickets, that ascends from a reclaimed stone-paved hall illuminated by floor-level windows.

This graceful staircase, lined with bespoke wrought iron
This graceful staircase, lined with bespoke wrought iron pickets, ascends from a reclaimed stone-paved hall illuminated by floor-level windows.

For a modern home on Sentosa Island, Singapore, strict angles give way to more biomorphic gestures in the interiors, such as fluid cutouts in the main bronze-finished steel stair.

“This approach results in an artful composition of forms that brings an unconventional perspective to a neighbourhood populated by luxury homes designed mostly in a modern, rectilinear style,” Landry says.

For this modern home, strict angles give way
For this modern home, strict angles give way to more biomorphic gestures in the interiors – such as fluid cutouts in the main bronze-finished steel stair.

“Our remodel of a home designed by Paul Williams retains its semi-circular flow and distinctive Hollywood Regency style bones,” says Landry, mindful of modifying the work of one of Los Angeles’ most revered 20th century architects.

“We applied new elements such as the stair’s wrought iron handrail and a chequered black-and-white floor that brightens the entrance,” says Landry.

Architect Richard Landry: “For this stair, we applied
Architect Richard Landry: “For this stair, we applied new elements such as the wrought iron handrail and a chequered black-and-white floor that brightens the entrance."

Despite an obligation to apply strict proportions and subscribe to the rules of classicism, Landry insists that traditional environments provide equally rich opportunities for artistic expression.

Recognising, however, the expansive language of modern architecture, he says: “With a contemporary stair, your inspiration can be anything.”

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: All by Erhard Pfeiffer; except for Tower Residence, by Roger Davies/Otto Archive

28 Mar, 2021

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