SCALA Ascension in Tribute to Humanity

Public Artist Horst Glasker is known for injecting beauty and reflection for individual introspection into previously drab locations by introducing invigorating color to ordinary public spaces. “Scala” (staircase in Italian) is one of Glasker’s most famous colorful creations in the public sphere.

The staircase, Holsteiner stairs, is located in Wuppertal, Germany. Each of 112 steps is painted in a brilliant pastel color and labeled with a meaningful word or phrase referencing an emotional aspect of the human experience. Ascending Scala, pedestrians are greeted by every color of the rainbow, and (only in ascension) words that elicit emotional response and mental pause within the upward movement enhancing the moment. The stairwell is divided into nine parts of life with words such as friendship, forgiveness, cuddling, seduction, anger, “to get the tingles”, panic flourish, sympathy, passion, and love.

The sentimental quality and intrinsic value of public artwork is commonly overlooked and often underappreciated. Endowing public places with artistic beauty is an under-stated public service as it promotes positive social change. In the case of Scala, the people of Wuppertal appreciate Glasker’s contribution to their community so much that they maintain the artwork when it shows signs of wear from traffic and weather. Scala was originally intended to be a temporary art installation, but through the hearts and initiative of the local residents, Scala is perennial.

Travel & Leisure has listed Scala as one of “The World’s Coolest Staircases”.

  • Scala 01

    Scala 01

    The colorful ascension of Scala provides pedestrians with a visually pleasing and mentally stimulating experience.
  • Scala 02

    Scala 02

    The rainbow of 112 steps is as appealing a sight from a distance as it is when walking up or down Scala.
  • Scala 03

    Scala 03

    Scala is so popular among the residents of Wuppertal, that they have taken on the responsibility of keeping the stairwell’s colors and messages fresh and bright.