Stairs don't have to be boring -- in fact, they can be made much more exciting by making them multifunctional repositories for books, desks or saving space by turning them into alternating treaded wonders. Stairs can get so grand that they can even form a kind of home ampitheatre, with a bit of sliding fun built in.
This modernist staircase from Marc Koehler Architects charts a middle way -- it's not a grand staircase, but it does have more than one function -- acting as a large bookcase, while featuring full-size, wafer-like treads that seem to hover as they extend over thin air.
Once again, there is no handrail on one side of the stair (something that would not fly in litigious North America), but it keeps the visual lines clean. By shortening the depth of the shelving, it adds a bit more floorspace, and makes the staircase look a little more intriguing. More over at Marc Koehler Architects.