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Until the dawn of the jetpack era, staircases will continue to serve as a means of vertical passage for multi-level retail stores.

Design them well, and they serve as focal points for shoppers, beckoning them to higher reaches of the store. Design them really well, and they become a retail moment to remember, something that shoppers will talk about with friends long after they’ve checked out.

Here are 13 of the best staircases to appear within the pages of VMSD magazine during the past five years. Just be sure to watch your step.

Dolce & Gabbana, London

A central spiral structure, with white Carrara marble stairs and framed by black Marquina marble on its sides, create a persuasive invitation to the floors above.

📷: Alessandra Chemollo, Venice, Italy
Design: Curiosity Inc., Tokyo

El Palacio de Hierro, Veracruz, Mexico

The designers of this high-end department store connected the stairway to what appears as a wood-trimmed portal, part of an overall strategy to create the illusion of a larger space.

📷: Paul Rivera, New York
Design: TPG Architecture, New York

FAO Schwarz, New York

The steps of this rocket ship staircase light up with color-changing LEDs as shoppers make their way to the second floor.

📷: Richard Cadan, Fairfield, CT
Design: Chute Gerdeman, Columbus, OH

Samsung, Toronto

The integrated lighting of this staircase accents its curvature, part of the “infinity curve” concept that inspired the store’s overall design.

📷: Bob Gundu, Toronto
Design: Quadrangle, Toronto

Under, Lindesnes, Norway

An aptly named restaurant that plunges about 15 feet beneath the sea, this stairwell evokes its environmental surroundings with a clean design and an air of obscurity.

📷: Courtesy of Snøhetta, Oslo, Norway
Design: Snøhetta, Oslo, Norway

Glossier, New York

A dramatic stairwell is doused in a soft pink pue and reaches up to a mysterious light, beyond which is the third floor’s stock room.

Note: This store is no longer open, having closed in 2020 during the pandemic. The company is in the process of reopening stores.

📷: Courtesy of Glossier, New York
Design: Gachot Studios, New York

Joseph, Miami

Inspired by Miami’s architecture from the ’40s and ’50s, a spiral staircase acts a sculptural feature that distinguishes itself from the store’s industrial steelwork and polished concrete floors.

📷: Justin Namon, Nevada
Design: Sybarite, London

Kaikaya, Valencia, Spain

Circle motifs and overgrown greenery accompany diners up these steps of a tropically themed sushi restaurant.

📷: Luis Beltran, Valencia, Spain
Design: Masquespacio, Valencia, Spain

Karl Lagerfeld, Munich

Stark contrast is relied upon throughout the store, as demonstrated by the staircase’s juxtaposition of herringbone parquet flooring with black wall paneling.

📷: Mike Fuchs/Courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld
Design: Plajer & Franz Studio, Berlin

Tommy Hilfiger, Paris

Re-clad in a high-gloss red, this staircase has been transformed into an eye-catching focal point at Tommy Hilfiger’s new Paris flagship. Read more about the project in VMSD’s October 2021 issue.

📷: Courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger
Design: rpa:group, London

Uniqlo, Boston

This metal staircase is complemented by a glass tube with a moving mannequin display, helping draw shoppers’ attention to the second floor.

📷: Gustav Hoiland, New York
Design: Shawmut Design & Construction, Boston

Eataly, Liverpool

Creative messaging gives shoppers something to contemplate as they ascend this wood-paneled staircase of a two-level, 42,000-square-foot Italian food theme park.

📷: Courtesy of Eataly
Design: Structure Tone

Apple Central World, Bangkok

Shoppers can travel between the two levels of Apple’s newest store in Thailand via a spiral staircase that wraps around a timber core.

📷 & Design: Apple

13 Staircases That Shoppers Will Remember Long After They’ve Left the Store

13 Staircases That Shoppers Will Remember Long After They’ve Left the Store

Until the dawn of the jetpack era, staircases will continue to serve as a means of vertical passage for multi-level retail stores.

Design them well, and they serve as focal points for shoppers, beckoning them to higher reaches of the store. Design them really well, and they become a retail moment to remember, something that shoppers will talk about with friends long after they’ve checked out.

Here are 13 of the best staircases to appear within the pages of VMSD magazine during the past five years. Just be sure to watch your step.