We owe our 21st century’s luxury loft to that “dismal science,” economics, scarcity of resources, population pressure, capital flows, and … artists.
Loft living began in the post-World War II deindustrialization of New York City. Those artists, starving or otherwise, priced out of Greenwich Village, moved into vacant, cast-iron buildings across Lower Manhattan, creating makeshift studios and artist collectives.
In 1967, artist and designer George Maciunas bought 80 Wooster Street in SoHo, the area “South of Houston,” a gritty industrial neighborhood formerly known as “Hell’s Hundred Acres.” The seven-story Miller Cardboard Co. building was functionally obsolete, but its cavernous interiors proved ideal for his vision: affordable living/working loft spaces where art and artist could thrive. Indeed, his “Fluxhouse Cooperative II” attracted some of the decade’s biggest names—Andy Warhol, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Hermann Nitsch—to exhibit their works.
Sweat equity created the loft spaces that drew the artists, who brought the lifestyle that brought the “smart money” reinvestment and redevelopment and brought … people who simply wanted big, imaginative, living space in a crowded city.
The loft and the lifestyle are here to stay, not just in Lower Manhattan but across urban landscapes far and wide. Herewith, Luxury Defined proffers a collection of luxury lofts in five cities across the globe—no artistic ability required.