Saturday, August 21, 2010

Industrial revolution: Lofts


More and more industrial buildings in several big cities around the world, like London, New York, Chicago, Vancouver, Milan are converted into  lofts, I believe it is a great idea to revitalize part of cities that were abandoned or neglected for decades, a big component of urban revival initiatives that also include renovation of industrial buildings into art galleries and studio spaces.
There are true lofts also called "hard lofts"  when a vintage factory or warehouse is converted into residential space and they are usually constructed of concrete and exposed brick, they retain original wood posts, beams and floors and they mostly have an open space plan with high ceilings, leaving pipes and wires exposed to create more visual interest.
There are also "soft lofts" consisting in new buildings with some characteristics of a hard loft such as high ceilings, large windows, open space, but more similar to apartments otherwise, they could have carpeted floors and the plumbing or electrical system are hidden behind walls.
Then there are "artist live/work" lofts that were restricted to people engaged in artistic activities but overtime they mostly became residence of people simply in love with the loft style.
All these residential spaces usually offer great location in the core of the city with more space than average condos and also opportunities of unusual way of decorating the interiors.

Here is an example in Milan, where an industrial space was converted to residential, leaving the structure intact with its brick walls, large windows, and a big open space. 

loft_milano_01
A large plasterboard panel in the middle of the wall was painted an unusual eggplant color and has a long line of glass blocks to give some light to the space behind it.  I love the eggplant accent color, I find it quite neutral but at the same time unusual and definitely perfect for such a large space. Notice the two coffee table and their interesting C shape.

loft_milano_02
The aluminum windows were painted to resemble wrought iron and they help to maintain the industrial look. A contemporary touch in the kitchen is given by the gas top raised from the wooden counter. I always suggest to have different materials on kitchen counters, marble, wood, steel make a efficient combination of surfaces for different jobs.

loft_milano_04
The whole apartment was conceived for entertaining, being the residence of a young single man. The floor was raised to create more movement in the open space and more steps where guests can casually sit. I love the choice of covering the floor with resin and giving it a cloudy effect.

loft_milano_05
The sleek bathroom has an interesting sliding Plexiglas door in a vibrant orange color.

loft_milano_06
The simple bedroom has a Japanese style bed on a wenge base. The drapes, when closed, create intimacy.

loft_milano_03
A bonus is the outdoor space, transformed into an Oriental garden, with water features and hidden from the street by a thick curtain of bamboo. An oasis of relaxation in the middle of a busy city.
I will explore other unusual way of building conversions soon, stay connected.

Photography by Cristina Fiorentini

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8 comments:

Linda Merrill said...

The image at the top is incredible - would love to live there!

annechovie said...

Great examples of wonderfully done loft spaces, Albarosa.

G. said...

Now I know that lofts are for poorer folks who can't afford things like sleek outdoor Oriental gardens, or raised gas cooktops, or C-shaped coffee tables!

I want it!

G

design traveller said...

Living in a loft is my dream, unconventional interior gives a lot of space for imagination.

Michelle said...

I dream of living in a chic loft...I'm sick of surberbia!! Maybe in my empty nest days.

Best,
Michelle

Francine Gardner said...

Love to design lofts as one can have total creative freedom with the space. Such fabulous illustrations of loft and I would just die for the japanese garden!

Virginia Blue - Director Blue Fruit said...

Lovely post. The top image is fabulous - a tiny space but somehow it doesn't seem over-crowded. Greetings from a fellow interior designer in Melbourne, Australia!

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