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The Factory

From 1962 to 1968, Andy Warhol’s original New York City studio was known as The Factory (although his later studios were known as The Factory as well).  The rent was reported to be about $100 a year at the time.  The space was loft-like and in a bit of disarray, it was originally a hat factory. The original studio was often referred to by those who frequented it as the Silver Factory. It was covered with tin foil and silver paint, decorated by Warhol’s friend Billy Name, who was also the in-house photographer at the Factory. The original space was located on the fifth floor of 231 East 47th Street – across the street from the YMCA and below an antiques place called Connoisseur’s Corner (Gerard Malanga, Archiving Warhol: Writings and Photographs (NY: Creation Books, 2002).

Bond New York, Silver Factory Perfume (Here). The Andy Warhol Monument near Union Square, NYC (Here). Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds, 1964 (Here). Colorized photo of Warhol in The Silver Factory (Here). The entourage at a party in the original factory (Here).

Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol at The Factory (Here).

“Billy Name furnished the Factory with trash he found on the street, including “the huge curved couch that would be photographed so much in the next few years – the hairy red one that we used in so many of our movies – Billy found right out in front of the “Y”. He was also responsible for covering the crumbling walls and pipes in silver foil, spraying everything with silver paint, ‘right down to the toilet bowl.” (Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett, Popism: The Warhol Sixties (NY: Harcourt Brace, 1980)

Mostra Sesc de Artes, Sao Paulo, Brazil.  © The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute (Here).

Edie Sedgwick answering phones at The Factory, Stephen Shore (?).

Billy Name “gave the impression of being generally creative – he dabbled in lights and papers and artists’ materials. In the beginning he just fussed around like the other A-heads, doing all the busy stuff, fooling with mirrors and feathers and beads, taking hours to paint some little thing like the door to a cabinet… and sometimes he was so high he wouldn’t even realize that he’d just painted it.” -Andy Warhol

One of Andy Warhol’s first checks, signed originally as his Polish name – Andrew Warhola and sometimes as André Warhola. During the sixties, through the various iterations of The Factory, such visionaries as Truman Capote, Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Paul Morrissey, Lou Reed, Betsey Johnson, and William Burroughs were known to frequent the space. Warhol would often bring in silver balloons to drift around the ceiling. Warhol first saw the decorating style at Billy Name’s apartment and asked him to replicate the space age colors and metallics in his new loft space. To Warhol, the silver represented the decadence as well as the frivolous “glamour” of the early sixties. In fact, it was sort of a joke – to have a room covered in crumbling pants, glazed over with a shellac, and pretending to be something it was not.  The studio was filled with fractured mirrors, spray paints, and tin foil. Warhol preferred to block the natural light in the studio as well, giving the space a strange reflective lighting.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and so can your interior designing, after the jump:

Silver floral walls, silver mirrors, pop art paintings (Here).

Silver serving trays, wall mounted, as decorating accents from Real Simple (Here).

A mosaic mirrored wall via Elle Decor.

Spray Painted silver walls, pre-war tiling, and mirrors any amphetamine fueled 1960’s artist would love (Here).

Image (Here). There are actually techniques online that can teach you how to create your own “antique patina” look using only aluminum foil. If you’re interested in this foiling technique, follow this link, the results are surprisingly luxurious.

Tin Foil Home (Here).

When in doubt, wrap everything in tin foil. This particular room was done as a prank. Imagine coming home to your life covered in silver (Here).

Silver Leaf Side Table
$995 – branca.com

French Furniture – French Silver Painted Collection
£389 – thefurnituremarket.co.uk

Iso Round Mirror in Mirrors | Crate&Barrel
$35 – crateandbarrel.com

Silver Shade Tall Table Lamp
£18 – designersofas4u.co.uk
Who knows? You might even go on to create million dollar masterpieces in your new space ala Warhol. Silver is a cool, rich, neutral. It is meant to have a calming effect with an earthy elegance. As Warhol explains, “I believe in low lights and trick mirrors.”

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Keren Veisblatt Toledano is a Senior Strategist at Brooklyn United, a digital agency for bold brands. In her spare time, Keren can usually be found taking photos of old doors, visiting museum, soaking in Epsom salts, admiring copper pots, reading dystopian science fiction or sneaking a slice of lemon into her drinks. Her motto is, “A morning without coffee is sleep.” She lives in a brownstone with her cat, Cagney, husband, Michael, and son, Josiah, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY.

3 Comments

  1. Great post! Silver adds instant class to anything. I had a drawing teacher who used to party with Warhol. My teacher had a small apartment that Joey Ramone and Warhol (with posse) used to frequent. Your post makes me wonder if my teacher ever got to see the Silver Factory!

    Reply

    • Thank you so much for stopping by! I wish I were part of a posse that were half that influential. What an amazing time for fashion and art and music (AND ALL THE HUMANITIES)!

      Reply

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