Brutalism, as a concept, was not applied at first in Interior Design. It was born from an architectural trend in the 1950s, characterized by industrial materials, massive and aerodynamic forms, and an organic and minimalist design. Over the following decades – although initially controversial – it influenced various areas of Design, including Interior Design, furniture, and even the digital environment.
Historical Context of Brutalism
The concept of Brutalism was disseminated by the architectural historian Reyner Banham in 1954, who associated this term with the architecture of Charles Edouard-Jeanneret-Gris, known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier, whose works date back to the 1940s. During his career as an architect, he stood out as a pioneer of the modernist movement and one of the leading theoretical influencers, despite being often misunderstood.
The architect is known for designing functional, rationalist, and minimalist construction processes that privilege functionality over aesthetics. For this, it developed techniques that make it possible to build lighter walls through reinforced concrete, also thinking about the integration of architecture with nature. The more than 30 works left around the world still guide urbanism and landscaping projects; 17 are considered World Heritage by UNESCO.
The Brutalist Architecture
The Brutalist concept is generally associated with rough, unpolished surfaces that convey a sense of unfinished Design or deliberate neglect. Structures can take unusual and modular forms to form functional zones grouped into a whole, presenting a robust appearance primarily due to heavy-looking materials.
Concrete is used in particular, but also brick, metal, stone, glass, and wood. With a minimalist design, Brutalist constructions focus on functionality rather than aesthetics, which is considered severe. It is characterized as an industrial style with irregular shapes and metallic palettes.
Brutalism in Interior Design
Brutalist architecture gave rise to the concept of Brutalism – now often associated with Interior Design – after, at the beginning of a new century, artists, architects, designers, and students began to recognize the historical value of this architecture. Nowadays, there is a growing admiration for this design style, where concrete has become popular, and with it, the brutalist style starts shining as well.
The minimalism that characterizes it, offers a natural flexibility whose canvas can be contextualized with versatility, where futuristic elements and modernist touches now come together. Interiors decorated with equally robust or minimalist furniture, curved elements, accentuated lighting, contrast with wood, among other diversified options, are used.
Characteristics of Brutalism in Interior Design
Brutalism’s applications in Interior Design go further, manifesting the look in sculptures, craftsmanship, and cast-concrete furniture, combined with some sophistication and modernism. Concrete has been used for everything, from bases for vertical lamps to coffee tables and ceramic sanitaryware.
Due to its industrial nature, an environment must combine with other elements to make it attractive, contrasting metal, whether silver or gold, which will give it more refinement.
Brutalist interior Design’s projection starts with a large, sturdy base emphasizing natural materials – such as concrete countertops or walls. Metallic lighting, small Brutalist pieces, and linen fabrics in pastel beige tones will link the entire aesthetic, giving the space a light personality.
The Brutalist Color Scheme
The predominant colors of this design style reflect the gray tones of the materials used and, for this reason, can be balanced with the warm tones of wood and clay pieces, for example..
Another dynamic is needed in an environment with high ceilings, large windows, and an industrial tone guaranteed by the concrete base and the use of black metal parts. Here small notes of color are requested.
In a house built in bare concrete, with geometric shapes and a monochromatic palette, the wooden floors and furniture and the use of a lot of textiles will soften the interior and the rugged appearance. The use of metal plays an important role, allowing for a captivating balance of the space.
The use of Shapes and Lighting in Brutalism
The large windows help make the environment more inviting through the entry of natural light. This factor must also be considered for the balanced creation of brutalist environments, gray by itself. The combination of modern artwork, vintage, and artisan pieces is seen as a must-have.
Brutalist furniture, as an integral part of the interior design project, is a component that was included when it received the influences of the architecture that it represents.
Often associated with modern Design, Brutalist furniture has the same textural characteristics: organic and unpolished shapes, often peculiar, as, for example, a stone-based coffee table on which a glass top rests.
Brutalist Design as a trend…
Brutalist Design has come to be considered by many experts as a timeless movement. It reappears as a strong trend for 2023 in a lighter approach to the Brutalist concept as a modern design.
At Sabiina Design Atelier, our primary goal is to create spaces suited to the client’s image, opting for high-quality materials and providing premium services.