The hyper-repetition of pastel walls, closed windows, and not-so-private balconies make this series enchanting.

Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which a spoken word or phrase temporarily sounds meaningless to the listener due to a steady stream of repetition. Kind of like when your dear old grandmother (bless her heart), compliments your good looks on repeat. While well-intentioned, the broken record reiteration starts to sound a little hollow. Thankfully this strange occurrence only happens in semantics, because the highly methodical repetition seen in Luigi Bonaventura‘s photographs feels anything but meaningless.

In fact, it is the hyper-repetition of pastel walls, closed windows, and not-so-private balconies that makes Bonaventura’s latest series ”Behind the Edge Jesolo Beach, Venice“ so enchanting. His images of vacant hotel façades embrace the unexpected power in redundancy. Bonaventura tells us that his photos are in no way a critique of uniformity; rather the homogeneity frees the artist to translate his passion for architecture into a captivating aesthetic.

When Bonaventura traveled to Jesolo, he was struck by the numerous hotels that were closed for the season and wanted to continue the blueprint of isolated façades used in his previous series “Behind the Edge, NYC." Bonaventura took photos of the resort town’s finest hotels during a week in March when the area was free of tourists. "The real mission is to show each structure as its Platonic ideal,” he says. “That is, as the architect imagined it—not as it all too often looks in real life." Inspired by the idea of an expressive painting, like a Mondrian, Bonaventura focused on line, color, and shape to capture the seaside glamour of these often overlooked buildings.

It is difficult to stop gazing at these photographs, which give these simple structures a commanding character. A pastel daydream, these retro façades look like they could have been used for a vintage beach postcard that arrived a couple decades late. The soft, slightly washed-out colors of cyan and salmon coupled with porthole windows, decorative railings, and shabby awnings induce a nostalgia that is magnified by repetition. Something Bonaventura calls a "happy accident."

Photos courtesy of Luigi Bonaventura. This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a closed street in St. Louis
    Equity

    The Curious Tale of the St. Louis Street Barriers

    Thanks to an '80s mania for traffic calming, the St. Louis grid is broken by hundreds of bollards and cul-de-sacs. Critics say it’s time to get rid of them.

  2. Design

    A New Plan to Correct a Historic Mistake in Pittsburgh

    A Bjarke Ingels Group-led plan from 2015 has given way to a more “practical” design for the Lower Hill District. Concerns over true affordable housing remain.

  3. A young girl winces from the sting as she receives the polio vaccine in 1954.
    Life

    How Mandatory Vaccination Fueled the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

    To better understand the controversy over New York’s measles outbreak, you have to go back to the late 19th century.

  4. A crowded room of residents attend a local public forum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
    Life

    Are Local Politics As Polarized As National? Depends on the Issue.

    Republican or Democrat, even if we battle over national concerns, research finds that in local politics, it seems we can all just get along—most of the time.

  5. A photo of shoppers on University Avenue in East Palo Alto, California, which is flanked by two technology campuses.
    Equity

    An Island of Silicon Valley Affordability Says Yes to More Housing

    East Palo Alto is surrounded by tech riches, but that hasn’t necessarily helped longtime residents, who welcome a state law mandating zoning reform