4 unconventional modern elevator designs

Creativity and innovation in elevator design are soaring to new heights. Take inspiration from modern elevator designs noteworthy of extra appreciation.

Elevators have come a long way from their functional beginnings as efficient vertical transportation. From surprising to mind-blowing, technology, design, and engineering continue to drive elevators that astound.

Here are four elevator designs that stand out from the rest and push the boundaries of what is possible.


Summit One Vanderbilt, New York


Prepare for a dizzying experience coming to life in October 2021. Step into Ascent, the all-glass enclosed elevator that will travel 369 meters up the outside of one of New York’s tallest skyscrapers next to Grand Central Station, Midtown Manhattan. Set to be a truly groundbreaking experience, watch this for a taster of what to expect



MOCCA — Zeitz Museum Contemporary Art Africa


Transforming a 1924 grain silo made of 56 vertical concrete tubes and an external elevator into the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world, Thomas Heatherwick’s design is nothing short of extraordinary. The concaves were cut in the shape of an actual grain of corn, modelled on a real kernel found inside before construction commenced. The exposed curvatures now house the museum’s custom-polished cylindrical glass elevators. Entering the gallery into an atrium presenting a cross-section of the inner workings of an old industrial structure, the ride carries passengers up through the gallery traversing the almost 200-foot hollows that were once used for housing corn.


This is a truly unique elevator experience.


More images for Zeitz MOCAA here.



Sky Shuttle, Lotte World Tower, South Korea


Not only is this the tallest double-decker elevator at 496 meters, it travels at over 35 kilometers an hour. That means it is capable of moving people from the first floor to the 121st floor in one minute. The building won the Emporis Skyscraper Award, and this elevator was certainly a contributing factor.



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Skylon Tower, Niagara Falls, Ontario


Overlooking the roaring Niagara Falls from the Canadian river banks, the Skylon Tower is home to three special “yellow bug” elevators.  These elevators can take up to 30 passengers to the top of the 158-metre structure in only 52 seconds, offering unparalleled views of the famous scenery through the specially designed glass cabins. The “yellow bugs” were designed and manufactured by Otis Elevator Company, who opted for a single guide rail on the backside of each car.


Changing environments, systems, and digitalisation are driving the future of elevators, while technological developments create opportunities to elevate the design of urbanisation. Adhesive solutions in particular can enhance the elevator design and production process.

Click here to learn about tesa® bonding solutions for the elevator industry.

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