Yorkshire Post Mid Week Life & Style Section – 23rd Sept 2015
The stripped down essentials of industrial chic can make it the perfect choice for the modern homeowner. Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall looks at this vibrant area of interior design.
Industrial Chic style has evolved from necessity to become embraced as a mainstream movement. It came up through the trendy ranks of reclamation and upscaling to become a hit on the High Street with modern furniture now being made to look aged and functional.
This style of décor is very much embodied by the juxtaposition of raw, weathered metal (particularly iron and steel), largely unpainted wood and distressed leather against neutral backgrounds. Essentially the workshops and factories of our forefathers, translated into modern living areas – think BBC Dragon’s Den with a bit more furniture and you are not far off.
The look first developed in warehouse conversions, originating largely in US loft districts, where the love of exposed brick work and pipes hanging from the ceiling was actually more one of economic necessity – it was cheaper to leave vast expanses of areas unadorned and embrace the buildings heritage rather than cover it up with cladding and plaster.
The look gained credence in architectural and design circles, so developed as a cutting edge design movement. Retailers such as All Saints and modern gallery spaces have assisted industrial chic’s mainstream transfer by making us all more familiar and comfortable with this type of environment.
Visitors to The Calder, the new contemporary art space at Hepworth Wakefield, can experience first hand just how exciting a totally unadorned space is and the infinite opportunities that such areas hold.
The upcycling movement is also fundamental to the development of this look. This is not just about refurbishing items, but re-envisaging redundant items for the modern era and imbuing them with new life.
Sites such as www.antiquesbydesign.co.uk show the innovative use that can be made of items such as a propeller (side table) or saw (wall wash light). Others, such as www.skinflintdesign.co.uk specialise in taking original industrial lighting and redeveloping it for the modern domestic market.
Old lockers and filing cabinets have been snapped up and made into modern storage options to such an extent that once cheap options are now highly sought after pieces, with designer price tags. So it is logical, that with cheap modern production techniques retailers would react to satisfying growing demand with a supply of product designed to look used.
Industrial chic is now cropping up all over the place. Searching “industrial” on many retailers, such as Barker and Stonehouse, will bring up a hearty selection of wood and steel options. There are now also specialists such aswww.vincentandbarn.co.uk who provide a one-stop shop of modern furniture, lighting and accessories that appear amazingly authentic.
Comfort is not out of the question though so do not despair! Soft leather chairs are the most on-trend seating addition, but recent developments have seen more mid 20th Century furniture being introduced into this type of scheme. Brands such as G-Plan and Parker Knoll were often heavy on wood with clear, straight lines, so have synergy with industrial pieces – the end results can be inspiring when these two design worlds collide.
It looks like industrial chic is a movement that is just going to keep evolving, as evidenced by the introduction of the new Drop Hat Shade in the Plumen modular collection – featuring a sleek metal disk teamed up with a simple bare bulb. Chic, just got chicer!
Jamie Hempsall, BIID, is a multi-award winning interior designer and member of the British Institute of Interior Design.
******************** HOT OFF THE PRESS *********************
AUTUMN BLUES ARE AN OCCASION FOR JOY
As we highlighted last year, blue is the hottest colour around in interiors these days, reflected by the launch at Decorex this week of the Blue Collection from the Little Greene Paint Company.
Following their innovative Grey collection a couple of years ago, this selection comprises 21 paint shades, 17 of which have not previously been published by Little Greene.
There are a mouthwatering array of tones and finishes, including the amazing “Ultra Blue” invocative of Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakesh Villa. This shade will be hand mixed in Little Green’s paint factory and available for a limited period only.