The exuberance of the Victorian design and later the flamboyance of the contemporary decor brought in the stark utilitarian look in the more modern decor. It should not be confused with the more bold modern decor. In its essence, it is closer to a very minimalist design style. In simple terms, utilitarian design means using only those objects that have some utility. It was completely against the use of unnecessary decor items, finishes and flourishes.
Since then there have been variations to the utilitarian style, an attempt to soften its hard edges or to give it its own stylish edge. But some elements remain the same, such as use of metallic elements like handles from zinc handles manufacturers. One of the most popular variations is the industrial chic. Combining the starkness of utilitarian style with the warmth of more earthy colours and textures, this style combines two very different sensibilities for just the right mix.
What Is Industrial Chic?
Also known as urban industrial, industrial chic puts the utilitarian design with worn texturesand colours of aged woods. Here we use the raw materials of the industrial revolution, such as glass and metal. But to soften its somewhat harsh edges we use textures and colours of fabrics, leathers, and wood. The style also advocates use of salvaged items as an ode to its utilitarian origin. It often has a more masculine appeal with its warm and mellow effect. It is often seen in lofts and reconverted spaces where we use the remnants of the old building to create an entirely new space.
There is a wide scope in this style and different people interpret it in their own way. Some of the common elements are exposed brick walls, unfinished materials, metal/glass lighting, cement floors and exposed beams. Here are some tips in getting the look:
Reconvert an old space: There is a reason why this style is seen most in reconverted spaces. It is not just the economy that underlines the principle of reconverting an old space. The idea is to honour the old designs and their utilitarianism. So, we leave many of pieces of the old framework as it is and often design a place around it. In a new restaurant in Mumbai, for example, old pipes in the ceiling were left as they were while the rest of the space was completely redesigned. The pipes were given a new coat of paint, but their starkness was both a vivid contrast and a tribute to the building’s history as a mill.
Use metal for fixtures: Industrial chic uses metal in many clever ways. One of these is in the furniture. The furniture itself is often made of aged or reclaimed wood. But the trick is to give it modern edge with metal fixtures. Contact a zinc handles manufacturers for interesting designs. Try not to go vintage here, since the wooden furniture will achieve that part. Stark or edgy fixtures are what you are looking for.
Using scrap material: If you do not have any vintage furniture of your own, scour bargains or flea markets. Look for metal or wooden furnitures that have well-used and worn edges, but nothing with the overt flourish of more traditional design. In fact, using old or used pieces in a modern and edgy manner is one of the utilitarian design’s oft used tool. So, an old door can become a table or a headboard!
Metal: Use of metal is very common in this design, since metal is both utilitarian and harks back to the industrial origins. Apart from metal fixtures, you can also use metal in the actual architecture of the building, such as leaving the beams exposed, or metal railings at balconies or staircase. A common element is the metal lighting. You can use suspended metal light shades that are available in interesting designs. Alternatively, look for metal floor lamp in stark geometric pattern.
Mix-n-match: For the industrial pattern to work, you have to pair the starkness of metal with warmer textures and shades. For instance, if your are using handles from zinc handles manufacturers, use it on mellowed wooden furniture. Leather upholstery and warm earthy shades and materials work best here.
So, use our tips and have a blast in creating a cosy, inviting and functional space that is perfect for industrial chic.