Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lofty Living - Part I

Legend has it that around the turn of the 20th century, all real painters lived in tiny garrets under the eaves of the Paris skyline. This, it is sometimes said, led to their paintings being on the small side, especially painters such as Paul Klee and Van Gogh! The main transformation in painting around the second half of the 20th century has been the change of scale, and much of it may be due to the artists' shift in residence from attics and other small studios to spaces formerly used as factories or warehouses, or what we refer to these days as lofts. To paint a 150 square foot canvas, a large studio is unavoidably necessary.
Even today, after the loft has ceased to be the exclusive prerogative of the artist, and has become an acceptable, alternative form of housing, a large percentage of those living in lofts are painters, photographers, architects, publicists and other sorts of creative, design, media oriented professionals. Since lofts are predominantly old industrial buildings, they will not be found in all districts of a city. It is an unconventional way of living, but loft architecture is in a sense, a significant form of recycling and reuse - critical concepts for the new century.
Lofts are generally large, open spaces with no fixed notions of a bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room and so on, and usually the structures and installations are left exposed. This allows for flexibile spaces that can evolve according to the needs of the poeple living there. The exposed brick walls and typically hardwood floors, make them warm, cheerful living spaces.This has made them popular and they have now become prized real estate. When I lived in Seattle, I was enchanted by the idea of living in a loft, but the astronomical price was enough to convince me otherwise!

If you ever thought living in a loft - an abandoned industrial building converted into a living space - is not for you...take a look at these gorgeous pictures of loft living! I for one would trade my home for a loft in a heartbeat! You can see why they are so popular and in demand!

An old chemical factory in Barcelona, converted into loft living
A sign making workshop converted in Born, Barcelona
Soho, London

1 comment:

indianyarn said...

artists lived in a loft because it was economical it is considered ultra chic, especially on the east coast. there are many industrial houses where i live and it ain't cheap - they say follow the community of the artists and that's the next hip location and that much for lofts

but nice writeup on how the size of the paintings was directly proportional to the size of the houses.