Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication but only so far as it avoids leading to sameness. The Verge examines how the minimalist style of AirBnb homes and coffee shops are all becoming alike. You can travel without ever feeling like you leave the house.
“Digital platforms like Foursquare are producing “a harmonization of tastes” across the world”
Social media helps facilitate the conformity of the “modern life space aesthetic.” The technology that connects us also streamlines the experience, like “looking into the foreign from a safe distance.” Seeking such secure personalization is what the author calls the “Airspace style.”
“I personally like the AirSpace style. I can’t say no to a tasteful, clean, modern life space. But thinking through its roots and negative implications makes me reconsider my attachment. It's hard to identify with something so empty at its core.”
As much as travel is about comfort, it is also about escaping the known and enjoying serendipity. It is ensuring that places in New York, Rio, and Hong Kong do not all feel the same. The world remains interesting only so far as it is different, not when it is interchangeable.
“desirable places should be both specific enough to be interesting and generic enough to be as convenient as possible, consumed quickly and easily — equal parts authentic and expendable.”
The Airspace style reminds me of the obsessive use of filters on Instagram. Once everyone used the presets, all pictures looked the same. But the pendulum is swinging back to the real with fewer touch-ups and more raw Instagram Stories.
Before you click away to find your next vacation home away from home, consider this:
“Seeking out difference is important, particularly when technology makes it so easy to avoid doing so.”
In this hyper-connected and customizable world, we need to pursue discomfort. It's already hard enough trying to disconnect and cope with boredom.