1960 Brutalism from Denmark Resurfaces

Jere Brass Wall Sculpture 2020, 1st Dibs

Brutalism, from the French ‘beton brut’, is a style of design and architecture that flowered in the 1960’s. I favour the Danish artisans of the period and I’m not alone. Whether or not they recognize its source, designers are loving the style.

Hotel de Crillon, Paris
Hotel de Crillon, Paris

Light elegant versions of brutalist mirrors and console tables with hammered metal legs are appearing in diva-worthy places like the newly renovated Hotel de Crillon in Paris, above.

Holm Sorensen, 1st Dibs
Holm Sorensen, 1st Dibs

Let’s look at the originals from the 1st Dibs webstore. The fun thing is that one can actually purchase them! Wall sconces and pendants from Holm Sorensen demonstrate a typical technique of torching rough-cut edges, and a classic form, flower-like flames.

1960 American, James Bearden, photos courtesy 1st Dibs
1960 American, James Bearden, photos courtesy 1st Dibs

I love the wall sculptures and sconces like these from Henrik Horst made up of overlapping squares, rings and circles of brass. The flamed edges create a beautiful natural colour gradation, a hallmark of the genre.

Henrik Horst, Denmark 1960, 1st Dibs
Henrik Horst, Denmark 1960, 1st Dibs

There are lots of examples of sunburst mirrors in brutalist style like the 1960 American piece. The James Anthony Bearden mirror borrows from the Danish style. There are no Danish mirrors on the site.

Danish mirrors, 1960’s, 1st Dibs
Danish mirrors, 1960’s, 1st Dibs

These three Danish pieces set us into a recognizable time period through their refined shapes and quality materials. This was the era of carefully shaped teak furniture.

Gilt metal candleholder 1960, David Palombo Menorah, 1st Dibs
Gilt metal candleholder 1960, David Palombo Menorah, 1st Dibs

Candlestands provide interesting table decor, dining illumination and family festival centrepieces. Danish metal techniques are reappearing in the new accessory designs.

Clock, Sculptures, Denmark 1069’s, 1st Dibs
Clock, Sculptures, Denmark 1069’s, 1st Dibs

Brutalist wall sculptures, sconces and standing sculptures appear in two of the three new design styles I covered in the Outlook article. This selection of period sculptures includes a 6 foot tall clock with remarkable surface detail.

Lucite box, 1st Dibs, Pullcast Kesya door pull
Lucite box, 1st Dibs, Pullcast Kesya door pull

How does it look today? Here is a lucite box and one example of the stunning oversized door handles at Pullcast. Use brutalist pieces sparingly to accent cleanly designed rooms.

Porta Romana wall sconces, Litkovskaya showroom, Kiev, photo courtesy Yatzer.com
Porta Romana wall sconces, Litkovskaya showroom, Kiev, photo courtesy Yatzer.com

Porta Romana’s fine quality lighting range from the UK includes dozens of styles we could feature. The room setting from yatzer.com is a new fashion salon in Russia.

See Also
Where to Stay in Tokyo: Keio Plaza Hotel
Where to Stay in Tokyo: Keio Plaza Hotel

Brutalist lamps, 1st Dibs, a section of eye of Silence, Max Ernst, 1944
Brutalist lamps, 1st Dibs, a section of eye of Silence, Max Ernst, 1944

Why is it important right now? The style meets the rough emotional sensibility of the current cinema offerings head on, don’t you find? When I’m in this design mood, I’m drawn to the artwork of Max Ernst, shown here beside modern pierced metal and walnut table lamps.

Hotel de Crillon, suite Duc De Crillon
Hotel de Crillon, suite Duc De Crillon

Here’s another look at the Hotel De Crillon with a finely detailed but definitely brutalist style mirror in the bedroom.

Tranquil House, Form Kouichi Kimura Architects, Yatzer.com
Tranquil House, Form Kouichi Kimura Architects, Yatzer.com

Beton Brut means raw concrete. The name brutalism comes from the architectural style of the period. The brutalist school of architecture has been very strong recently, witness this house in Kyoto Japan.

By now we are clear on the features. Put on these brutalist glasses and look around the world of today’s top designers, top lighting and accessory firms and leading architects. See Denmark shimmering behind?

View Comments (2)
  • The candle sticks are rather interesting and the mirrors are really gorgeous… such presence! If this style is being showcased by one of the most elegant hotels in Europe, Hotel de Crillon, I would say that you are once again ahead of the trend, Lois!!!

  • Thank you Carmela. I follow new hotel designs closely. its important to have confirmation of what might just be personal inspirations.

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