Leisurama

Speaking of Paul Sahre, while I was in New York , he showed me his latest self-initiated book project called ‘Leisurama’, which he describes as such:

“What kind of idiot buys a house at a department store?

Sounds crazy, but then again, why not? Even if a prospective owner didn’t succumb to the smartly designed, full-size, fully-furnished Leisurama model on the 9th floor of Macy’s at Herald Square, or swallow the advertising (which boasted the ultimate in convenience, “Just pick a few colors and start enjoying your new life of leisure”), or be convinced by the price tag ($490 down and $73/month), a well-designed house this cheap–and by the beach–could hardly be believed.

And so (in 1964) 200 people did just that, and if the company who sold them hadn’t gone bankrupt during the construction of the first phase, many more would have followed. The initial development plan called for 800 Leisuramas in Montauk, Long Island alone.

Since being built, these identical (and identically furnished) houses have been in a constant state of change. I was introduced to these odd little buildings as a renter in the summer of 2001 and almost immediately began research for this book, which was conducted almost exclusively door to door”.

Naturally I purchased a copy, and as you would expect, it’s fantastic, not only well designed but well written. I’m not sure whether it’s available in Australia yet – I’m sure it will be eventually at your local ‘design bookshop’ at the usual steep markup. It is available on Amazon at a more reasonable rate I’ve sure here.

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