Let’s be honest, how is a brutalist style guide aspirational? The movement is synonymous with the underclass and the soulless buildings they inhabit, right? Wrong. The style is being reclaimed by those who seek honesty in architecture. And since many of these buildings are now over 50 years old, they feel more soulful, a story to tell and give a real edge to interior design.
The style was born of function. However, schools, flyovers and shopping malls were eventually deemed eyesores after a wave of development in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Yet like so many great designs, with age, these buildings are being re-invented and attracting a new appreciation.
Brutalism lends itself to large spaces. The ability to create bigger buildings was key to the success of concrete. Of course with space being at a premium, we don’t all have that luxury. Yet that does not mean that it won’t work in more traditional homes. Here are some design tips on how to give your interior design that iconic brutal kick.
The easy assumption for using metal in Brutalist inspired interiors, would perhaps be in the form of exposed iron beams in loft style apartments, but industrial chic has grown up. Metal styling harks back to older days, chromed, brass and for those with a penchant for ostentation, gold.
The current trend leans towards copper colourings, typically used in bathrooms or kitchens. A copper statement bath enables you to dip a toe in the brutalist movement, without going overboard. Exposed copper piping is becoming increasingly popular interior accessory to incorporate some industrial styling into a space. Pair with marble flooring for an ultra elegant twist.
Getaway with granite!
Brutalism is essentially the aesthetic of raw architecture. Obvious materials include concrete, glass and metal. The style is used rather bluntly in iconic buildings such as the Barbican London however, a loosening of the rules also makes the style accessible to the more conventional home with the use of alternative stone materials.
The return of luxury surfaces such as marble and granite, don’t instantly smack of the brutalist trend, which is renowned for a parred back characteristic but they can add an interesting twist to the style.
Applying a granite kitchen worktop or a stylish granite table wouldn’t take away from a brutalist surrounding, it would probably enhance it. Granites such as our Botticelli or Tintoretto would add some impact to the interior style with their dramatic bronze and gold veining. Why not opt for a leathered finish rather than the more popular high polish; you will get the stone in its more natural rugged form offers an appealing texture that marries well with an industrial interior style.
Get Brutal with Colour
Aim for colour free zones where possible although, as proven, hues of bronze and golds can offer a lot to the brutalist charm. Whilst some accents of colour may be evident, the overall palette should be minimal greys, blacks, silver and sometimes brown.
The intention of keeping it simple, is to focus the mind on the textures used in the interior, an invitation to reach out and touch, rather than stand back and look. The lack of detail is evident, a focus on form, function and architectural honesty.
Rough Round The Edges
There is nothing smooth about this styling. It is rough, spiky and oddly shaped. The perfect characteristics for introducing some fun sculptures into the setting.
If you are not yet ready to completely overhaul your interior in favor of a brutalist styling, wall art and sculptures can ease you into the trend. Look for items which favor blocky structures, hammered metals and rough textures.
The style also translates to soft furnishings so indulge in rugs and cushions with interesting textures.
A gentler Approach…
Do brutalist interiors have a masculine appeal? Perhaps, but with the rise of the dandy, perfectly tailored and complete with pocket watch, there is no space for minimalism.
Quintessentially a bachelor pad was a careful equation of an ageing Chesterfield propped against a panelled wall. The new formula encourages a more experimental appeal, think corrugated metal with a naturally rusted patina, warmed by accents of wood; the ultimate man cave.
The materials used in brutalist styling are generally simple, practical and mostly efficient. There is no room for fuss. The same thought process applies to lighting.
Pendants stripped back to the basic bulb are ideal for over the table lighting. Opt for multiple bulbs hung at different lengths across the table.
The market may currently be swamped with industrial style lighting pendants but reclaimed and original items are far more intriguing. Don’t worry about mis-matching styles, it is intriguing, a great conversation starter.
Remember, aesthetics is important but creating the correct lighting for the room is also a consideration. Think about the function of the room. Are you eating? Reading or relaxing?
Are you ready to make a firm commitment?
Images via Pinterest
Accessing cheap building materials and then utilising them within the home, is a key benefit of concrete surfaces. Yet despite cost, it is recognised as a luxe product! Just ask Victoria Beckham who used it for her flagship store in London.
Covering swathes of area with concrete slab won’t be a design choice for the masses. Yet the style conscious can take care to acknowledge the trend, without emulating the newly cool concrete jungles. Accessorise with vases, tables and concrete pendant lights.
If you want to make a firmer commitment, then consider polished floors, staircases paired with glass or concrete trough style sinks. Our Gemini Quartz range offer a much more practical alternative to concrete and comes in a range of colours to fit in with your take on brutish interior.
The Brutal Truth
Brutalist interiors are intentionally divisive. Cold, austere, maybe a little ugly? We disagree; the style is intentionally under dressed, and it has a raw appeal that is unapologetic yes, but at the centre of this hardcore design trend, there is a recognition of durable, high quality materials and a celebration of longevity which is certainly a thing of beauty.