A large craze that we have seen take over the world of interior design and so-called “hype” locations is industrial design. With its raw nature industrial design is characterized by exposed beams, harsh unpainted metals, exposed brick, strong angles, and an overall unfinished or unpolished feel.
Image from: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/industrial-interior-design-explained
Though the aesthetic has grown in popularity tremendously in the last half century its true roots date back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. The design philosophy is not credited to one singular creator for it was more born out of necessity to be able to build quick and functional structures to keep up with the ever quickly growing cities the industrial revolution was flourishing in. However, many point to Christopher Dresser who lived from 1834 to 1904 and was a British designer and theorist who emphasized the marriage of form and function and advocated for mass production techniques, this ideology led to him being considered among the first independent industrial designers.
Image from: https://www.safetynational.com/conferencechronicles/the-4th-industrial-revolution/
This initial explosion of industrial design was mainly confined to factories and industrial areas where the function of the building was exclusively its effectiveness in developing consumer products. This trend of being the aesthetic of the industry continued until about the 1960s and 70s which is when old warehouses and factories got reimagined as living spaces because the so-called traditional living situations were becoming more and more difficult to find or afford.
Image from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eoXfm-lL34&ab_channel=PineappleDECOR
This transition is the one that seems to be the large explosion that has led to the 21st century’s obsession with industrial design. With the increase in awareness of environmental issues and the shortage of new quality living situations, many have found a strong charm in these warehouse conversions and they have become so popular that new construction is even purposely designing its buildings to simulate this raw nature.
Image from: https://ciptabaliarchitect.com/industrial-architecture-design/
Though some people might see the choice of an industrial aesthetic as being lazy by the designer others find the raw nature extremely unique and like the feeling of having furniture and spaces that are special and very different from the “traditional” aesthetics of the western culture. In fact, it is in the furniture industry where the aesthetic of industrialism makes some of its most fascinating and eye-catching pieces.
Image from: https://georgiaartisan.com/product/steel-a-frame-dining-table/
Image from: https://www.home-designing.com/vintage-retro-industrial-style-ceiling-wall-and-pendant-lighting
From its chairs and tables to just a simple lamp, industrial design makes an eye-popping discussion piece for its owner that due to the nature of the metals and angles they are created by also has unrivaled quality and durability.
The Industrial aesthetic has grown a lot from being born out of necessity in factories during the Industrial Revolution to being a unique and quality solution to a housing crisis to now being the bell of the ball for hip upper-middle-class houses. So the only question is, would you live in a renovated factory with the wires exposed?
OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT (3.5) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com
McLaughlin, K. (2023, April 17). Industrial Interior Design: Everything You Need to Know About This Raw and Commanding Style . AD. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/industrial-interior-design-101#:~:text=%E2%80%9CIndustrial%20interior%20design%20became%20popular,became%20more%20difficult%20to%20find.%E2%80%9D