Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic: Brutalism

My original aesthetic that I am currently working on is the rustic aesthetic. Therefore, I have chosen to write about the brutalism aesthetic as it seems like a perfect opposite. While a rustic aesthetic is all about having a natural wooden feel, brutalism focuses on creating structures that prioritize functionality and materials. Brutalism is often made with concrete and creates its structures with one type of material as well. Doing this makes them feel colder, and in my opinion less pleasing to the eye, even if it looks interesting. Lets dive deeper into the differences between these two aesthetics.

Beginning with the materials. Brutalism architecture often uses unfinished materials such as concrete, steel, and glass. All of these are noticeable man-made. The overall structure is exposed with rough finishes and solidity. While for a rustic aesthetic embraces natural materials such as wood, stone, and clay. The structures tend to be more organic, often showing signs of age and weathered appearances.

Now moving onto color pallets for the two aesthetics. Based on the materials used for the two, there shouldn’t be any surprise when told that a brutalism design often has a monochrome palette as its preferences are neutral tones such as gray, beige, or brown. While for a rustic aesthetic obtains a larger variety of colors. This aesthetic often uses palettes created by natural landscapes, allowing for a larger variety. You can use earthy tones such as browns while also including opposites such as blue and greens.


For my upcycle project, I am creating wooden coasters out of a tree branch with its natural internal patterns. If I were to alter the aesthetic to brutalism there seems to be only one choice I could go about. This would be creating either concrete or steel coasters. This would be a lot simpler of a project as creating a slab of concrete isn’t the most complicated and there wouldn’t have to be any precautions taken when worrying about water damage to it. Should I make it out of steel, it would be a lot more expensive as I would need to by slabs of steel and cut it to shape and size. Both scenarios would create an interesting coaster, although, should price not be an issue I would go for a steel coaster as a concrete one may break easier if it were to fall of a table and chip a corner off.







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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hey Kyle,
    I think brutalism is the perfect opposite to your aesthetic! It is interesting because I kind of did the opposite of you in my project… as my opposite aesthetic was that rustic aesthetic you had mentioned. I had one question for you, what material would you use if you had to use the brutalist aesthetic?

  • Jonathon Gruener
    February 18, 2024 1:12 pm

    Hi Kyle,
    I think that brutalism is a great choice for a contrasting aesthetic. They definitely have totally opposite goals and feelings. You did a great job explaining how they are different as well as how you would have to alter your project to do it in the brutalist style.


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