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The Strange Attraction to Uncomfortable Style

Anyone who has ever been to Venice can tell you two things: 1) it’s achingly beautiful, and 2) it’s nearly impossible to get from one end of town to the other without losing your mind.

Why is it so hard? Because there are no roads, and no cars to drive on them! There are canals, but they’re skinny and a citywide “No Wake” rule is always enforced – for good reason.

But, oh boy, is it pretty. Paving Venice is a possibility (and climate change could make it a reality), but Venetians and the world at large oppose this. Why?

Because Venice has style.  Venice is unique, and to some extent the challenges it presents are part of its appeal.

Challenging Style

We can see how this manifests in interior design all around us. Designers might describe it as form that doesn’t allow function to follow; when the furniture design or the room layout is aesthetically pleasing, but otherwise a pain in the neck.

There are lots of ways this is used intentionally, either as an artistic statement or as a strategic design choice. Consider the corporate titan who fills her waiting area with beautiful but uncomfortable lounge furniture – what is her attitude toward her visitors?

Strange Style Attraction

Added to this is the fact previously mentioned that human beings are attracted to things that challenge their sense of what’s “right.” For most, what defines right is what’s comfortable and geared toward convenience.

That’s why when some of us look at an Adirondack chair we wonder why there’s not a cushion on it. And really, why isn’t there a cushion on it? Wouldn’t it be more comfortable?

Maybe it would be, but that’s not the traditional Adirondack style. And, there are probably more than a handful of New Englanders who would call it sacrilege to put one on there.

But, it doesn’t mean you can’t – style-wise, you can make your trip to Venice as comfortable as you want.  

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