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Brutal Beauty: Brutalism Decoded

Let’s talk about Brutalism. As an architectural style and within industrial design, it’s recognised as rough and unapologetic, and it’s this brash sense of confidence realised through form and materials that makes it oh so intriguing (not to mention divisive).

By Millie Thwaites

Post-modernist by nature, Brutalism rejects the decorative and embraces a mostly monochrome, blocky and industrial aesthetic with metallic palettes and raw, geometric forms.

A little bit of history…

We’re big fans of the bold individuality associated with all things Brutalist – be it Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation completed in Marseille in 1952 (arguably the most iconic Brutalist building of all time) or Paul Kingma’s mosaic slate and brass tables of the 70s.

The word Brutalism is derived from the French term ‘béton brut’, meaning raw concrete, but this movement is about so much more than its signature material. Post-modernist by nature, Brutalism rejects the decorative and flashy and embraces a mostly monochrome, blocky and industrial aesthetic.

Think exaggerated heavy slabs, metallic palettes and raw, geometric forms.

The word Brutalism is derived from the French term ‘béton brut’, meaning raw concrete, but this movement is about so much more than its signature material.

Why do we love it?

The beauty of Brutalism is perhaps the only subtle thing about it; unlike its 20th century counterparts such as Memphis or mid-century, it doesn’t rely on colour or delicate details to catch the eye. The sense of the unfamiliar associated with Brutalist furniture and objects will keep us going back for more.

Check out our edit of Brutalist-style coffee & side tables and find yourself a Brutal Beauty.

We’re big fans of the bold individuality associated with all things Brutalist such as Paul Kingma’s mosaic slate and brass tables of the 70s.

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