Brutalism, an ever-controversial style, has had a mighty resurgence of late within the interior design community and gives home design enthusiasts that complementary edge in modern spaces. Raw, powerful and post-apocalyptic with an attitude not to be trifled with, Brutalist interior decor is no doubt somewhat darker than its modern interior style contenders but no less attention-grabbing. It is, however, an acquired taste.
Born out of a post-World War II architecture movement, it favours a stripped down aesthetic. Doing away with fancy trappings of refinement leaves you with a somber, roughly-hewn look that is left unfinished. Brutalist home decor favours the use of sculptures and durable materials in somber, moody organic forms and materials. The severity of brutalist styles celebrates the beauty of raw materials, allowing each natural state to shine through- similar to the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi or the art of embracing imperfection. One of its most interesting intricacies is that it’s one of the most difficult of modern interior and architectural styles to date that can be attributed to the timelessness of its aesthetics.
In a culture that celebrates mess and quantity, a home is a place you breath. Brutalism may offer just that. Let’s take a look at some of the elements that coins the term Brutalism.
MADE IN CONCRETE
Keeping up with the trends, the industrial vibes favoured by cafe connoisseurs and coffee enthusiasts at their favourite caffeine-fix hotspots all around Malaysia should probably be a big giveaway of why this aesthetic is gaining traction.
This “concrete effect” promises a perceived strength and simplicity which so happens to be the underlying rugged core of this post-World war II style that favours the bold, industrial fortress ambience. Afterall, the very name itself pays tribute to its signature material of choice, coined and evolved by an architecture critic, Reyner Banham who derived it from “béton-brut”, French for raw concrete. Furthermore, concrete embodies a material that is inexpensive, unfussy and resilient - perfect for a style born out of postwar era.
Perfect isn’t it?
METAL WITH BURNT FINISHES & RUGGED TEXTURES
Metals play well with concrete and are another key element to the severity of this style. Even better if it comes in its natural patina - referring to its thin layer of natural oxidation as part of the ageing process of metal over time, it complements the raw, industrial vibe nicely that can be somewhat softer and modernized when paired with distressed leather and raw linen.
If you’d like to get on the Brutalist trend ASAP, try scattering sculptural metal furniture or sculptures in iron, bronze or steel that will complement the modern silhouettes of softer, rounder plush couches or an unmade bed to give your room just the right amount of edge it needs and homage to the postwar mechanical era.
GEOMETRIC AND BLOCKY SILHOUETTES
Think large expanses or chunks of concrete like a modern stonehenge as the pièce de résistance of your foyer or living room background where your receive guests. We'd like to think that brutalist keeps it fundamental by paying homage to the building blocks of your home, a bold reveal that is both inherently nonchalant yet sophisticated in its functionality for creating a sense of intimacy and privacy.
With the advancement of technology, home enthusiasts now have a plethora of options in the marketplace to play with. It's even easier now to add brutalist accents into your home be it as simple as a statement wall of cement, burnished metal or its reinterpretations of its key choices of materials into wall hangings, light fixtures and furniture. Use your imagination to lend a perfect touch of the raw power this trend evokes. You can go for a modernized spin on this historical trend by mixing it up with pops of colour with your personal choice of decorative arts and introducing different forms of textiles to break up the space.