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Genius Loci

Although I have only been there a few times, one place that I find special to me is the Loring Pasta Bar, specifically at night on a warm evening. I think part of my attraction to the restaurant is the fact that I have not been there often, which gives it a certain sense of romanticism. Although in essence the whole space seems to be its genius loci to me, it can be argued that the main dining area next to the street windows is its true genius loci. Just sitting at a table at night, with candles lit everywhere around you casting light on the exposed brick walls, and a warm summers breeze blowing in through the windows explains everything about the atmosphere and presence of the Loring Pasta Bar. Sitting at a table there shows the presence of the space, and you can immediately identify what it is trying to be. The space is trying to express itself in the form of love, romance, comfort, warmth, and enjoyment.

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But the space is more than just the independent items that make the space up. It is about the company you are with, the conversations, the connections you are making, the memories you will have, and the things that you will share, all within the space. And the dining space inside the Loring Pasta Bar very successfully does this, but in a way that isn't cliché and overdone. It doesn't try overly hard to be what it is, it somehow just accomplishes it. In comparison, the restaurant Chino Latino in Uptown tries to achieve the same thing as the Loring Pasta Bar. But in Chino Latino you don't feel comfortable, you don't feel intimate, you don't feel close. The noise, the atmosphere, even the candles, everything there seems to be overly done, and done wrongly. The Loring Pasta Bar has some how done everything that Chino Latino was trying to but couldn't. Loring seems close despite the wide-open floor space and high ceilings. It seems intimate despite the ongoing conversations of the people sitting next to you. Everything that is noticed as a flaw in other restaurants seems to melt away in the Loring Pasta Bar, and that is what its genius loci was aiming to do. But I am careful to make the distinction of the Loring Pasta Bar as a space and not just the building that it is in. If you were to look at just the building then it wouldn't have the same genius loci, and certainly the current genius loci would not be fulfilled. You would just have old glass partitions and brick walls and nothing more. Conversely, if you were to just take the interior aspects of the Loring Pasta Bar, such as the tables and candles, and put them into any other space the some effect would not occur, as I pointed out with Chino Latino. So it takes both the building's characteristics and the aspects of the interior to make the space whole, and to give it the genius loci it has.