The Glass Staircase

I was enthralled by the image of what looked like a staircase of ice over at Tokyomango. No, it's not ice (that would be deadly slippery) - instead, the steps are made from optical glass.

Designed by Hiroshi Sugimoto, the glass staircase decorates the Go-Oh Shrine at Naoshima, Kagawa prefecture, Japan. In the project, titled Approprite Proportion (2002), the staircase connects the Shinto shrine with an underground room:

The shrine comprises three main parts: the Worship Hall, the Main Sanctuary, and the Rock Chamber. The massive rock slab completely cuts off the Worship Hall and the Main Sanctuary from the Rock Chamber; only the “stairway of light” joins the celestial and earthbound realms.

From the underground chamber, a concrete-walled passage leads to the mountainside. Visitors to the shrine first worship at the divine iwakura (stone seat) and shrine hall, then descend to the “ancient” underground chamber via the concrete passage, lastly taking in a view of the sea through the portal to the present on the way out.

Feast your eyes on these amazing photos:

Photo: Rick Elizaga/Son of Soy

Photographer Rick Elizaga took this amazing photo of the Go Oh Shrine in 2009. (BTW, Rick has got tons of very neat photos of Japan on his blog Son of Soy- be sure to check it out!)

Photo: yasmin/Flickr

Photo: Hiroshi Sugimoto/The Pace Gallery New York - via art21

Looking outwards toward the sea from the Rock Chamber. Photo: Rick Elizaga/Son of Soy

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