Here's an example of turning a liability into a design statement. It's also sort of steampunk. These pics are from my travels last month in Italy. This is in a little wine shop in Florence, where the wiring is all mounted ON the wall as opposed to running inside of it. While I don't know why they did this, I am guessing that it has to do with it being much more difficult to channel into concrete, brick and stone....
The cool thing is how beautifully they've done it. Check out all the fabric covered wires lovingly arranged as they flow out of the fuse box and find their way around the shop. The wrapped wiring becomes a design statement as do all the little porcelain pins and switches that they run between. It also allows the shop owner to easily change the lighting whenever he or she wants. No need to call the electrician here.
This would be a great DIY project
I received quite a few emails yesterday from electricians, making the point that this type of wiring would be considered illegal in the US, and that trying it as a DIY might not be a good idea. It's a fair point, so for those of you out there who follow the rules, please don't consider this as a DIY.