The Naked Buildings: Industrial Living 101


From the brownstones of Brooklyn to the Victorian row houses of San Francisco, urban style homes are a little different in every city. The basics of industrial digs however remain the same. Loft style living is characterized by a pared-back aesthetic. We’re talking bone-raw. Exposed brick and metal work, concrete flooring and ‘floating’ steel staircases are common features. Industrial chic is the sort of decor that lets the building speak for itself.

Originally popular with artists, warehouse-to-loft conversions and the like are now highly sought-after by other iconoclasts desperate to live ‘La Vie Bohême’, and the gentrification of the former manufacturing sectors of large cities is now a familiar pattern (see Manhattan).

One can certainly understand the appeal. Peeling back a building reveals something of the artwork underneath. Metal, brick and wood- stern and seemingly uncompromising materials on their own are woven together in structural poetry.

Raised ceilings and the lofty windows they inspire give way to remarkable views of the city’s own kind of garden-the skyscrapers that bloom in this concrete jungle. There’s tons of light and structural features like vents, steel piping and pillars, traditionally considered eye-sores, are bared in all their glory like metal sculptures. Raw metals and open web steel joists form a kind of modern art.

No curtains, no dry wall. Hang those industrial pendant lights low over an aged-wooden table or counter-top, keep the furniture uncluttered (vintage or retro pieces look superb in this space) and the interior achieves its own unencumbered, sleek and urban vision.

Sarah Lubala