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Industrial Interior

Inspired by the New York loft apartments in disused factories, industrial décor has been consistently popular across the last few decades. But what is it, exactly? In short, it's a journey back to America of the 20s and 30s, in the midst of its industrial revolution. It takes us back to the factories, to Ford's machinery, to the prohibition…

It was during this time that furniture began to be produced in bulk in order to meet rising demand, and the materials used were raw and cold, with wood and steel in particular becoming most popular. Simplicity and functionality were prized, and embellishments were done away with. It was this pared back aesthetic that would later rise to prominence and win the hearts of designers for years to come.

Industrial style enjoyed something of a second wave in the 80s as a reaction against booming consumerism. First artists and then ordinary citizens began to invest in abandoned buildings (disused studios, factories, etc.) and move themselves in. The loft was widely recognised as a highly desirable living space and it was the inspiration for many architects and interior designers. Generally, they tried to maintain its original style, cultivating its unique charm by seeking out fittings that matched the raw state of the space.

In the 21st century industrial style continues to seduce designers and remains in high demand for interiors thanks in part to the modern quest for the real in a world that is often unbearably sterilised; we return time and again to objects and places that have a tangible sense of history. At first glance, industrial style appears easily achieved, but in fact it requires rigorous work: it's not enough to just throw together some black brushed furniture and a waxed concrete floor.

On the walls, its best to have brick, or failing that aged wallpaper or dark paint. For the colours, grey, brown, taupe or beige are your best options.

In the living room, there are certain indisputable must haves: a leather sofa, club chairs, one or two tables in raw wood, a large bookshelf and a vintage cabinet.  

You might even brighten up a corner with a recreation of a 1930s office, with a little desk and an articulated lamp.

Once the general décor is taken care of you'll want to complete the look according to a longstanding tradition of artist's lofts: modern artworks. So, how to choose a piece (or several!) to add an artsy flair to your interior?

Opt for minimalist works with clean lines and neutral colours; like greys, deep blues, and browns. Canvases from the likes of Sam Peacock or Gottfried Salzmann are a great example, because they conjure up the iconic New York skyline.

If you'd rather have a sculpture, be sure to go for raw materials like wood or steel. Or, if you prefer to play around with contrasts, you could choose a brightly coloured work to make a bold statement and bring your interior to life.

Sombre and chic, black and white photography remains elegant and timeless, and adds a touch of nostalgia to the otherwise raw style.

Alternatively, to guarantee a truly impeccable industrial style, street art will fit in perfectly. A fresco by JonOne or Jérôme Mesnager superimposed onto planks of wood will immediately lend a spark of character to your design.

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