Art and Function: The Evolution of Balustrades


homeBalustrades are popular features of traditional and modern homes. The iconic candelabra-shaped fixture has come a long way from Assyrian civilisation to the modern day glass and steel version prominent in Australian homes.

A Brief History of Balustrades

Balustrades are posts that support the railings on staircases, balconies, verandas, decks and entrances. These enhance the look of both indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as serve practical and safety purposes. Balustrades consist of balusters or stair sticks vertically placed and aligned to support the handrail of the staircase.

Baluster came from the French balaustre and Italian balaustro, which means pomegranate flower. It resembles the bud blossoming halfway.

While the inventor of the wooden balustrades remains unknown, the earliest examples of its use were from Assyrian palaces where it functioned as window balustrades. It became an architectural element predominant in the early Renaissance where it embellished fifteenth-century balconies of palaces in Verona and Venice.

In the sixteenth century, European balustrades were made from wood, marble and stone. Artists Michelangelo and Bramante popularised it, using it in most of their designs. This spurred the spread of the architectural piece globally.

Modern Balustrades

Fast forward to modern times, traditional ionic and vase designs find it hard to permeate modern architecture, but still hold their practical use. It was transformed into lighter and more space-saving versions using materials, such as stainless steel, aluminium and glass.

Minimalist balustrade like those found on, a leading Perth glass balustrading company offer sleek and spacious look to staircases, decks and pool fencing. Either fully frameless or semi-frameless designs, the glass undergoes a lamination to make it safer and more durable. As such, it lets you enjoy uninterrupted views while playing the role of guardrails.

Unlike the oldest forms of balustrade, its glass version eliminates the bulk that comes with the round balusters. It also deviates from the classic architectural structures like the Pantheon, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Venetian bridges. It aims to be discreet and contribute to the clean silhouettes of modern homes.

Balustrades are home fixtures that will continue to captivate art-loving homeowners.