One of the things that really struck me while on vacation in Barcelona a few years (actually almost 12!) ago, was the balconies. They seem to be central to the personality of the city. Actually, that ‘s true of many European cities, where balconies aren’t just functional spaces for those who live in the apartments and homes in question. In these contexts, they’re meant to appreciated as aesthetic additions for the benefit of anyone who happens to be walking by. Maybe thanks to Romeo and Juliet, balconies are just intrinsically romantic.
So, all of this got me to thinking about how varied the humble balcony can be. As things warm up out there, we’re going to be spending more time outside, both on our balconies, and in walking around our neighbourhoods in appreciation of the simple things in life – a cheery, interesting, maybe even kind of strange effect that an outdoor space and visual addition the common balcony can be.
To create something of a virtual walk around a neighborhood, here are ten cool balconies that amaze and inspire me, and hopefully will amaze and inspire you, too.
1. Barcelona balconies
I mentioned Barcelona balconies before, and how visually striking they are. Here, they kind of speak for themselves.
2. Gaudi Balconies
Seeing as we’ve evoked Barcelona and decorative balconies, I couldn’t leave out a representative balcony from that city’s patron artist, Antonio Gaudi. The artist is responsible for many architectural features around Barcelona, most of them amazing and completely bonkers in equal measure.
But, here it’s proven once again that it’s the details that count. And a decorative balcony is certainly a great example.
3. Teacup balconies
When you sit on your balcony and enjoy a nice cup of tea, think of these balconies to be seen in Tokyo that take it that one step further.
4. Colorful balconies
Uniformity may provide a certain safety when it comes to an attractive exterior. But, take a look at this set of balconies to be found in Tübingen, Germany. Who says the Germans are austere?
5. Swimming pool balconies
Speaking of safety, here’s a set of balconies that have done away with the term completely by adding an outdoor swimming pool to a unit of apartments in Mumbai. But as cool as they look, I’d worry about leakage, and the strength of that glass. Oh, and gravity. Yikes!
6. Patterns of balconies
Sometimes, that sense of uniformity I referred to earlier can actually add up to a visual benefit all on its own. This series of balconies found in Hawaii reminds us how using balcony design as a pattern when buildings are planned can result in a pretty cool first impression, and can serve as the definitive feature to an exterior.
7. Maltese balconies
You’ve heard of the Maltese Falcon? Well, now you’ve heard of Maltese balconies. These enclosed balconies to be found on the island of Malta, just off the coast of Italy, are old-world decorative.
8. Pointy balconies
Sometimes, you don’t want old world. Luckily in this case, there are options. These super-modern balconies that look like you could put your eye out on one if you got too close can be found in Copenhagen.
9. Decorative urban balconies
The idea of urban outdoor living spaces is usually associated with uniform, utilitarian spaces. But, not in Paris, my friends. This balcony that provide an attractive outdoor living space that defies expectations of life in the big city. Can you host a barbecue out on this balcony. No. But, look how it beautifies the exterior of this building just by existing.
10. Floral balconies
Sometimes, balconies aren’t necessarily a staging places for human activity, but rather more to create a kind of floral metaphor. What the heck am I talking about? Well, take a look at this balcony that can be found in Venice. The flowers bursting with life show off the beauty of the exterior, and also hint at the vibrancy of life in the interior as well. That’s the metaphor part.
Balconies are a big part of many an outdoor living space. But, what they also do, as can be seen in some of the above examples, is to add texture, interest, and personality to an exterior to be observed from outside.
Even though most of these examples can be found in established old-world contexts, or just kind of wacky modern ones, there is still a lesson in design to be taken here. Colorful outdoor furnishings, a bold-colored awning, a lush outdoor container garden, can add all kinds of visual interest to properties no matter where they are.