The Unhão complex, constructed in Salvador, Brazil in the 17th century, consisted of a sugar mill with a big house, chapel, and slave quarters. At the time, Salvador was one of the largest and most important Brazilian cities, and its port was the site of a large portion of the Portuguese colony’s sugar exports, an economy fueled primarily by slave labor. The ensemble drew the attention of Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi at her first visit in 1958, during which she spent some years working and teaching in the city. Following Bo Bardi’s decisive contributions, the buildings were restored and became the new home of the Museum of Popular Art and the Popular University. But within the whole complex, the element that draws the most attention for its plasticity, functionality, and symbolism is the helical wooden staircase.