top of page

What Is Luxury? How Does It Evolve?

What is luxury? How did it originate and how does it evolve? Luxury has been a concept that has evolved over the course of human history. It has been defined in various ways and has been associated with different things at different times. From the earliest days of civilization, luxury was defined by access to rare and exotic materials, such as gold, silver, and precious gems. Over time, definitions of luxury came to encompass not only these materials but also the craftsmanship and artistry that went into creating beautiful and functional objects.

Today, luxury sector has evolved to encompass more than just material possessions. It has come to include experiences, such as luxury travel, fine dining, and high-end entertainment.

In this article, we will explore the evolution of luxury and its new definition in the modern world.

Channel detail as a symbol of feminine luxury

Rolls Royce detail as a symbol of masculine luxury

What is Luxury? - The origin

The earliest evidence of luxury can be traced back to ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, ancient Romans and the Greeks. In these societies, luxury was defined by the availability of precious metals, gems, and other rare materials. These materials were used to create elaborate jewelry, intricate pottery, and other objects of art and beauty.

As societies evolved, luxury began to encompass more than just materials. In the Roman Empire, for example, luxury was defined by access to fine wine, exotic spices, and other imported goods. These goods were often expensive, and their possession was a sign of wealth and status.

David by Michelangelo representing renaissance

Luxury In the Middle Ages and Renaissance

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, luxury continued to evolve. The development of trade routes, such as the Silk Road, brought new materials and goods to Europe. These materials, such as silk, spices, and precious metals, were used to create exquisite works of art and craftsmanship.

Luxury during this period was often associated with the aristocracy and the church. The wealthy and powerful used luxury goods to display their wealth and power, commissioning art and architecture that was both beautiful and functional.

The Industrial Revolution and Modern Luxury

The Industrial Revolution brought about significant changes in the way luxury goods and brands were produced and distributed. The rise of mass production made luxury goods more accessible to a broader range of people. However, this accessibility came at a cost. The quality of luxury goods declined, and the artistry and craftsmanship that had once defined luxury were lost.

In response to this decline, a new movement emerged, known as the Arts and Crafts movement. This movement sought to return to the values of craftsmanship and artistry, emphasizing the beauty and functionality of objects. This movement paved the way for the modern luxury industry, which continues to emphasize the quality and artistry of luxury goods.

Red luxury lounge design by STUDIOVN
Private Members' Club Lounge designed by STUDIOVN

In conclusion, the evolution of luxury has been a long and fascinating journey. From its origins in ancient civilizations to its modern incarnation as a multifaceted concept that encompasses experiences as well as objects, luxury has continued to evolve and adapt to changing times. The future of luxury is sure to be just as exciting and dynamic as its past, as it continues to evolve and redefine itself in the years to come.


STUDIOVN is an experiential interior design studio with an interdisciplinary approach to interior architecture, interior design, and experiential design. Experienced in designing exceptional residential and international hospitality properties, the studio works with more than 600 global suppliers to deliver exceptionally designed interiors. We believe that curated design experience provides the novelty that will indeed become the real differenti­ator.

Looking for small-scale and task-specific consultation first? Have a look at our online consultation services.


Success! We'll be in touch within 2-3 business days.

Price Range




bottom of page