The Brutalist Home Trend Will Awaken the Rebel in You
Courtesy of Viya Home
Brutalism isn't a word that evokes feelings of warmth and coziness, and, in a way, it's not meant to. Born out of post–World War II as an architecture movement that prioritized raw, unfinished materials to create imposing fortress-like structures, the aesthetic filled a need for widespread low-cost rebuilding and durable materials that could provide protection against foreign attacks. The movement, which remained popular until around the mid-1980s, is now making a comeback on the design scene.
Alongside the growing popularity of minimalism, perforated metals, and other rough-around-the-edges trends, brutalism evokes a moody, post-apocalyptic vibe that's eye-catching and complementary to modern spaces. When used in today's modern homes, the trend reads less dramatic and moody, and more attention-grabbing. Even better—it is the perfect complement to softer, rounder pieces, like curved sofas and unmade beds. Ready to give your décor a unique edge? We outlined the main characteristics of this daring trend.
Because the Brutalist movement was born out of a postwar era, architects and builders were specifically interested in materials that were inexpensive, unrefined, and resistant. Concrete was the material of choice in Brutalist architecture, but it is still beloved in contemporary architecture today, like in this New Zealand house by architect Amanda Yates.
Brutalist accents are characterized by jagged edges that mimic mechanical post-apocalyptic shapes and forms. Torch-cut brass chandeliers, which are synonymous with Brutalist décor, were popular in the 1950s and have recently made a comeback.
In furniture and décor, the Brutalist movement was somber and almost post-apocalyptic—giving importance to eerie organic and rugged shapes in dark, earthy tones. This hotel lobby in Anguilla, designed by Kelly Wearstler, embodies this trend perfectly.
Courtesy of Viya Home
The primary materials of the Brutalist movement were primarily concrete and metals—although not all metallics made the cut. Artisans and architects preferred the raw burnished look of unfinished metals like iron, bronze, and steel. Anything to give the metals a lived-in patina.