I used "pattern" in my model on the lower stairs. The reason I chose this texture, is because I imagined the material I would need to use for those stairs would have to be strong. The stairs cantilever out from a side support which is either hanging from the ceiling or held up from the ground. The balustrade is also only supported at the lower end. Thus it is important the material I choose to use does not bend or break when placed under the forces. I would need to use a strong material, such as carbon fibre, which could support its own weight and that of the users. This custom texture I feel represents the strong binding within the material.
This is a screen shot of the texture used on the lower stairs. The detailing of the pattern in the texture attempts to represent the strength and reliability of the material used for the stairs.