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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Candlestands provide interesting table decor, dining illumination and family festival centrepieces. Danish metal techniques are reappearing in the new accessory designs.
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.
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’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.
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.
Here’s another look at the Hotel De Crillon with a finely detailed but definitely brutalist style mirror in the bedroom.
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?
A long standing member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Lois Macaulay holds a 1st place award for residential design 2018, 2nd place for 2017 and 2 presidential citations for contributions to the profession from ASID. “I love creating beautiful settings for extraordinary women--and men,” she says. The strong fashion/design connection in these posts owes its source to her first career as a fashion designer, coordinator and national fashion magazine editor.