The Cinque Terre region in northern Italy has a cliff-side walk protected by a galvanised wire mesh fence, which is a favourite haunt for tourists, lovers…and padlocks. Like many places in Europe, and spreading throughout the rest of the world, it’s become one of those places where lovers attach a padlock, as a symbol of their undying and unbreakable love, and then throw away the key. Here, it presumably goes into the clear blue ocean below. I often wonder about the poor little fish, swimming along peacefully minding their own business which suddenly get donked on the head by a bloody big key. Must drive them nuts.
In some popular places like this fence in Prague, the padlocks nearly overwhelm the fence and have to be regularly removed by maintenance workers.
I’m in 2 minds about this. On the one hand, I like the idea of people interacting with and personalising their landscapes. And I really do like that “love, actually, is all around”. But on the other hand, as a designer or landscape architect, I think I could get pretty annoyed if I designed some beautiful piece of fencing (or, at Sydney’s Ballast Point Park, most attractive gabion walls) and people kept attaching bits of hardware all over it. Or is that being a cranky-pants spoil-sport?