Skip to main content

Squid Game's mesmerising staircase has an equally trippy origin story

An above shot of Squid Game's infamous staircase.
(Image credit: Netflix)

If you've been living under a rock, you may have missed the Netflix show Squid Game taking over the internet. But if you did catch up on the Korean drama series, you might recognise those infamous winding, colourful steps. 

The show follows a group of cash-strapped individuals who take part in children's games to win billions. Taking this dystopian storyline and partnering it with the fantastic, bold and mesmerising sets, Squid Game truly is an aesthetic masterpiece - and it's full of Easter eggs. If you haven't seen Squid Game yet, make sure you check out our roundup of the best TVs to buy in 2021, to enhance your viewing experience. 

You may have spotted those formidable, vibrant staircases that completely bend your mind, from somewhere else. Director Hwang Dong-hyuk has said in an interview for Netflix that the stairs were inspired by the piece of art Relativity by M.C.Escher. The artwork features a number of staircases interweaving and defying gravity in an attempt to disorientate the onlooker. When you compare this artwork with Dong-hyuk's set on Squid Game, you can totally see the similarities. 

A comparison between the artwork 'Relativity' and Squid Game.

We think both the staircases are pretty eerie (Image credit: M.C.Escher/Netflix)

One fan spotted that not only does the show draw references from Escher's art but also from Lewis Caroll. With its oversized sets to make the players seem tiny and the fantastical, bright and psychedelic backdrops, you can see how Dong-hyuk may have been influenced by Caroll's Alice and Wonderland. 

One of the most interesting props from the show as well as the staircase is the infamous Red Light, Green Light doll (a game based on a similar concept to children's game 'What's the time Mr Wolf?'). The terrifying doll has been spotted out and about since the series started airing, and it's just as creepy as it is in the show. One TikTokker posted a video of a replica of the animatronic doll in the Philippines, and not only is a great example of brilliant advertising with its interactivity and shock factor, but it also gives us a serious case of the chills. And just to make it even spookier, the actual set doll now resides in an adventure museum in Korea for fans to visit whenever they like – yikes!


♬ Squid Game - Green Light Red Light - Yovinca Prafika

The show is currently the most-viewed original series on Netflix, so it should come as no surprise to find out that it has the internet stirred. One user described the thriller as "a masterpiece," "mind-bending," and "definitely not for weak hearts," whereas another user called it "brutal" but "an amazing, very well done show." It's obvious this series is a complete hit and seems to have brought a dystopian eeriness just in time for Halloween. Of course, it couldn't be popular on the internet without a few good memes though.

See more
See more
See more

We can't wait to binge-watch this gripping thriller (but we're maybe a little frightened too.) But if Squid Game doesn't seem like your type of series, then don't worry, why not check out our roundup of the best streaming services to see what else the world of streaming has to offer?

Read More: 

Amelia Bamsey

Amelia Bamsey is the Staff Writer for Creative Bloq. Cornish born-and-bred, Amelia has a passion for all things art, design, photography and music.