Musical stairs

Thanks to all the Nudge blog readers who pointed us to this terrific video from Sweden that asks: How can choice architects get people to use the stairs instead of the escalator?

For others curious about the background: The videos are part of something called the Fun Theory project (sponsored by Volkswagen it appears) that, according to its web site, is dedicated to coming up with fun ways to do things we otherwise wouldn’t, usually because of sheer laziness. Like throwing away the trash.


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11 Responses to “Musical stairs”

  1. Abby Says:

    These are interesting, but I have two questions:

    1. Would the muscial stairs decline in use as the novelty wears off or as they become more common? I imagine so, which means they would not be useful on a widespread scale.

    2. Does the musical trash bin actually prevent littering, or just cause people to throw the same amount of trash away, with preference for the interesting bins? If so, it isn’t really helping in any real way.

    • Jasmine Kwong Says:

      1. The novelty might not wear off of everyone, so there may only be temporary change for some, but more lasting change for others. Also, if musical stairs can become common and you get kids (or even adults) getting used to taking the stairs instead of the escalator, you have good chances of helping them form a great habit. And we know that habit is very powerful.

      2. I thought that the musical bin’s purpose was to prevent people from littering, that is to prevent people from throwing garbage on the ground, no? In that case, throwing the same amount of trash away, with preference for the interesting bins instead of the ground or anywhere (like the pond in the park) is exactly the goal.

    • Jason Bade Says:

      These were my two exact questions after I watched the videos. Although these are great ideas, they are far too novel for practical application.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    how much of the extra rubbish was stones?

  3. Jasmine Kwong Says:

    This is very much like what I suggested before 🙂 I say, let’s mass produce these rubbish bins / trash cans!

  4. Flavio Musa F Guimaraes Says:

    I do agree with Abby!
    As soon as it’ll be no novelty, more than old stuff people will be bored and annoyied with the cacophony of sounds…

    Please tell me what are (or will be) the real results after six months.



  5. monicahamburg Says:

    I’m assuming that after few months people will have gotten used to their good habits and might, even after the novelty has worn off, still decide to take the stairs or throw out garbage.

  6. Hopefully Anonymous Says:

    gimmicky rather than genius. musical stairs may be a good idea for pre-cynical elementary schools and children areas, though.

    Also have to consider the downside of stigmatizing those who shouldn’t be taking the stairs (are you going to end up encouraging more heart attacks and broken hips)?

  7. andrea Says:

    I know the inventor of musical stairs and the original walking piano. His name is Remo Saraceni and is an absolute genius.

    He designed these magical items more than twenty years ago and Tom Hanks was the first to dance on walking piano in the movie Big.

    If you want to see with your eyes all the possible applications of the walking piano played with the feet take a look at Remo Saraceni’s channel on youtube.

  8. June Says:

    Does anyone know how to actually make these steps (the mechanics, electronics, etc)? Are the instructions available anywhere?

  9. andrea Says:

    Musical Stair touches the chords of sensibility, it influences positively the people who play it, Its joyful notes create social synergies putting everyone in a happy frame of mind.

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