Beyond the "Wow factor"

The term "Wow factor" was first used to refer to the intrinsic qualities of each person, that make him rise, and become unique and different from the others. In a given person can refer to obvious leadership skills, in another to unusual abilities for mathematics and in another to an exacerbated maternal instinct. Summarizes the characteristics that stand out in that person, in a more or less evident way, making  him memorable for others. The same term has also been associated with several areas of human activity.

The concept, so discussed in this time of acceleration of the way we relate to knowledge, applies to architecture, but also to the fields of music, motion pictures, photography, design, advertising and many other visual arts. It has primarily to do with the immediate sense of satisfaction we get when we see or hear something that surprises us positively. It focuses on instant gratification, sometimes reinforced by an enthusiasm that externalizes the stunning character we find in that image, space or event. And we associate quality to the things we experience this feeling about. We set up with them a relationship of enormous empathy and obviously find that they stand out from the rest.

But if on the one hand this quality (wowness) is important in what we produce, so our creations stand out from our competitors, in the voracious and ferocious market we move, is no less important that after the first appeal, the things continue to run and prove, in everyday life, the correctness of their assumptions. Basically, more important than the initial impact they cause, it is essential that we like more and more the architectural works throughout the contact we have with them. That over time, as they are gaining patina and losing the immaculate innocence of youth, we still find them functional, beautiful and inspiring.

As in human relationships, more important than a crush, or than a vain attraction by some very beautiful thing, is the enduring love. It loves the qualities and learns to live with the glitches. Optimistic, calls them "personality traits", because just as there are no perfect people, there is no work free of imperfections. It’s better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.

Every good project has, in its essence, a strong idea that tells its story and is perceived as its climax. It's his "Wow factor". But the same project also solves , in a more invisible way, a small set of problems needed  for it to make sense and to work as a whole. Has thickness beyond what appears at first sight. It requires more than one analysis. It is never obvious.


2011, October