Balconies are transitional spaces—at once inside and outside, private and public. They are also a luxury: However pleasant they may be for lounging or useful for circulating air through apartments in hot climates, they cannot be considered essential. These semi-enclosed spaces create illusions. Balcony-dwellers are seen but not heard, among the people but separate—and even protected—from them, as monarchs and presidents know well. Balconies trick an audience gathered for royal wedding celebrations or a pope’s speech into believing, if only for a moment, that strict social hierarchies do not exist since everyone is sharing the same air. But the very nature of the balcony’s design—that it cannot be put on the ground floor—reinforces the notion that its This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-One Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 48 Jordan Casteel The acclaimed painter of people—and now plants. Arts & Culture Issue 48 The Sweet Spot How long is the perfect vacation? Arts & Culture Issue 48 Cliff Tan Four questions for a feng shui guru. Arts & Culture Issue 48 Figure Skating with Mirai Nagasu The Olympic athlete has known glory, pain and transcendence on the ice. Arts & Culture Issue 48 Sweet Nothing On the virtues of hanging out. Arts & Culture Issue 48 The Art of Fashion On what artists’ clothes communicate.