Industrial Interior Design

Industrial Interior Design

Industrial interior design style has many appealing elements from materials to a neutral colour scheme, but its enduring feature is the depth of soul these spaces naturally carry. 

This depth of soul is achieved seamlessly by the age of the building which is a direct reflection of the time it was built, and the materials that were used at the time such as steel, brick, copper, glass, concrete, and wood.  This dated back drop presents a perfect foundation for a space to be treated with respect to create a design that is instantly attractive.

Let’s go back in time to investigate the origins of industrial interior design.  Sometimes when words or terms are used regularly like ‘industrial’ people are not aware of their origins.  In this instance the origin of ‘industrial’ design is the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution

“The Industrial Revolution marked a period of development in the latter half of the 18th century that transformed largely rural, agrarian societies in Europe and America into industrialized, urban ones.”

In Australia we may not be familiar with what the Industrial Revolution is because Australia was founded as this movement was taking place in Europe, the UK and the USA.  The Industrial Revolution began in the UK, so it’s no surprise that Australian cities such as Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney have been built using new technologies such as steam. 

industrial interior design
Pelaco factory, Richmond

Factories were built to manufacturer textiles, iron, steel and charcoal and it is these disused factories which contribute to the prominence of industrial interior design.  Entrepreneurs in hospitality and property development saw the potential these buildings offered, with a unique charm that required little ‘renovating’ to make appealing.

Characteristics of Industrial Interior Design

Materials

The beauty of dated materials such as red brick, timber and steel window frames are key features of industrial interior design.  Materials that have been worn, used, damaged evoke a sense of warmth and character.  For people using the space it also represents are comfortable relaxed feel, not afraid of damaging delicate surfaces such as white plaster walls or pure wool carpets.

Exposed Piping

Designers (and architects) celebrate exposed piping rather than attempting to conceal it because it is representative of the industrial nature of the building itself and shows authenticity and respect of this industrial design style.

Textures

Industrial interior design is highly textural from the materials of the architecture to the addition of upholstery in sofas, fabric cushions, rugs and so on.  The brick is rough rather than smooth, the wooden floors or beams are dented and full of character.  The exposed pipes are flat and round.  All of these textures add interests while contributing to the harmonious feel.

Colours

The colours found in industrial interior design are neutral and rich, rather than muted or pastel.  From red bricks, to dark woods, black steel frames, grey concrete.  Therefore, it makes sense for the furniture and furnishings to also be neutral and rich.  Such as a tan leather sofa, a cow hide rug, a dark timber coffee table.

industrial interior design

Old with New

Working on industrial interior design projects today requires a respect for the past and a careful curation of the interior design elements of today to create balance and interest.  Wherever, possible use authentic vintage pieces rather than replicas (link) and good quality furniture that coincides with the good quality structure of the architecture itself.  A healthy respect for new and old is required for a successful industrial interior design outcome.

Written by Trish Khoury
Founding Director
Grace Interior Designs for The Design Basics