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Style focus: the inspired industrialist

28 May 2019

When you step foot into our TREE showrooms, you’ll find yourself among an eclectic range of furniture styles, from mid-century modern to raw and rustic and of course, industrial chic. In today’s bLOG post, we’ll explore how industrial design became a popular style among today’s interiors, as well as share with you our tips and tricks on how to weave this effortlessly cool look into your home.

Industrial design stems from the 17th and 18th centuries, when factories and warehouses were constructed to support the rise of mass-manufacturing and specialised machinery. There were several factors that influenced the design of these industrial buildings, such as large windows for letting natural light in due to the lack of electricity, as well as flat rooftops, open floor plans and plain walls to comply with safety regulations and mitigate any fire hazards. The result was a utilitarian building with an unfinished appearance, with exposed brick walls, timber roof trusses, steel frames and raw concrete that characterise industrial-inspired buildings and homes today.

Over time, many of these abandoned factories and old buildings were repurposed into residential housing and artist studios, which were well sought-after for their abundance of natural light and high ceilings. Regardless of whether you reside in one of these characterful converted spaces or in a modern apartment, there are plenty of ways you can create this raw and refined look in your home! Look for pieces crafted from metals like copper, steel and iron, which were prevalently used in the day and are definitive of industrial design. If you are weary that an all-metal look may look too engineered and sterile, work with wood! Timber was another raw material often seen in exposed beams and paneling and can create a naturally beautiful contrast between the warm wood grains and cool metal detailing.

Get the look: Antique wood dining table (in-stores only) | Blacksmith dining chairs and stools

The beauty of industrial style is that its characteristic wood-metal pairing works seamlessly with any interior. If you prefer more of a rustic look, opt for pieces crafted from reclaimed wood like our Celebes collection, crafted from chunky off-cuts were once used as fence posts on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Their organic edges, weathered surfaces and natural markings tell the story of their past of enduring harsh weather conditions, and embody the same raw, unfinished look seen in historic industrial buildings. For those who lean towards a cleaner aesthetic, simply invest in pieces with a slightly slimmer silhouette. Our Fendy collection does just that with sleek wooden panels and metal detailing, taking the heaviness out of traditional industrial design while giving it a modern update.

Get the look:
Top: Celebes dining table | Celebes bench
Bottom: Fendy leaning rack with hooks | Fendy round coffee table (in stores only)

Industrial design embraces a neutral palette – think black, greys, earthy browns, and deep brick reds – colours that reflect the raw materials used to construct industrial buildings. Indeed, this interior style does take on a more muted palette, but that isn’t to say colour isn’t welcome! We love to work with pieces that have subtle hints of colour to add a little vibrancy to a space. Our Elevate collection is crafted from reclaimed wood with hand-painted detailing in blues and greens, which creates a worn-in effect perfect for achieving that industrial chic look, all while giving your room a naturally unique lift.

Get the look: Elevate desk | Elevate multi rack (in stores only) | Solo ladder

We hope this bLOG post has given you a little insight to how industrial design came about, as well as inspires you to work this impactful style into your home!

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