Loft is an apartment characterized by wide ceilings (often enough for a mezzanine), lack of divisions between rooms and abundant natural light. Sometimes, rustic cladding and exposed installations are used to resemble the first lofts, which were originally industrial sheds.
In a scenario of full cultural and behavioral transformation, amidst the birth of various young and artistic movements in the United States, more precisely in New York, in the 1960s, the loft was born. The idea, which was innovative and disruptive, has stood the test of time and even today expresses a young and inquisitive lifestyle.
From cheap warehouses in inhospitable neighborhoods to luxurious projects in upscale areas of the city, we’ll unveil a little of the history – from the origin to the consecration – of this apartment’s artist cousin: the loft.
In the 1960s, New York was bubbling up new ideas through all kinds of artistic expression: music, film and the fine arts, for example. In this scenario, Andy Warhol, a young illustrator, stood out by creating provocative works that questioned consumer culture and the role of art.
Andy Warhol soon established himself as a visual artist and the main name of the movement called Pop Art. His studio, The Factory (the factory), was originally located in Midtown, Manhattan, in a cheap warehouse, which he only abandoned when the building was about to be demolished.
Frequented by the most interesting people of the time, the Factory was, perhaps, the first and most famous loft of all time. The book “The good life: guided tour of modernity houses”, by Iñakis Abalos, elects Factory as one of the examples of houses created in modernity, giving Warhol credit for creating this new style of housing (and a very cool origin to the loft, right?!).
At first, lofts represented a cheap housing alternative. As they were located in buildings originally created for industrial purposes, they did not offer the same comfort and structure as the residences of the time.
However, over the years, it has established itself as the hallmark of a particular lifestyle, reaching the status of cool, young and bold housing.
The idea was naturally exported to other countries and, in Brazil, it arrived sophisticated. Here, the lofts are high-end projects that recreate the industrial atmosphere with much more luxury and refinement than the original lofts.
Some features, however, cannot be lost, as they express the loft’s strong personality.
With the exception of the bathroom, there are no walls to delimit the use of space. Living room, kitchen, space to receive and work share the same environment.
Often so high that it can accommodate a mezzanine and the most reserved area, such as the bedroom.
Abundant natural lighting
Typical industrial frames tear the wide spaces providing abundant natural lighting.
Rustic and industrial coatings
As in factories, the floor, ceiling and window frames do not receive exquisite finishing. The look is more rustic: concrete, steel, wood and exposed brick. Apparent electrical installations also reinforce the essence of the loft.
Lofts around the world
In an interview with Vogue , Dutch stylist Carin Scheve and her partner Francesco Caramella opened the doors of their apartment in Brooklyn. True to its roots, the loft reveals a routine full of charm and lots of art. Second-hand furniture share space with signed pieces, creating a chic but unpretentious atmosphere.
Another building, located in the historic center of Athens, housed a former textile studio and was remodeled into a luxury residence. The minimalist combination of finishes (concrete, steel and wood) gives a rustic yet sophisticated and modern tone. Despite the large plan, not all environments are integrated. In this project, the intimate area was separated from the social.
In Prague, a former municipal brewery has been converted into 40 apartment units. Half of them are located in the old building, and the other half were added in the revitalization. The renovation has preserved the industrial spirit but accommodates a comfortable modern lifestyle.
If you are interested in learning about other types of apartments, you can check out more articles like this one, through the series “Apartment Plans”. Check out: