Buzzer formality

A lovely example from the interior courtyards of Milan’s apartment buildings of how restricting access – in this case, through requiring a particular hex screwdriver – plus a lack of regulation, leads to a blossoming of all manner of creative improvisations; handwritten on Post-its under a strip of tape, home-printed and cut out, and (my personal favorite) bright red printed labels from a label-maker affixed directly over the previous occupant’s name. This could speak to the complexity of accessing the “actual” set of names, or the relative level of difficulty in getting a responsible party to grant access.

In contrast, there’s the austere, gold-plated, and relatively more regulated-looking “walled garden” environment of this directory. No telling whether this resulted from a relatively easy process, a lack of resident turnover keeping things simple, or enthusiastic building management keeping things neat and tidy, but all have led to uniform white rows and an interface so polished one can see one’s reflection in it.

How do these interfaces between the world outside of a building and the occupants inside appear in your daily life? What about where you live – is it gold-plated and regulated, or a multi-typefaced, technicolored improv?

Relatedly, see also how one New York City building “defaced” their interface in service of making it legible, or Amsterdam’s “individual” versions of these speakers, designed for a single- or several-occupant house instead of an entire building.

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