6 Brutalist Pieces Infused With Raw Beauty

Critics coined the term Brutalism to define the seemingly crude 
and domineering architectural style that emerged from the ruins of 
postwar Europe in the 1950s. Characterized by raw concrete surfaces and 
the appearance of decay, it was an aesthetic that easily translated into the crimped, torn and torched metals of midcentury furniture design. Today, designers embrace new and vintage pieces that celebrate the rough stuff.

By Sarah Virginia White
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Slash & Burn

You are never supposed to look directly into the sun, but we dare you not to stare at the hand-hammered flames that lick outward from the Uttermost Elegans Round Mirror by artist grace feyock, available from Southern California–based Lamps Plus. the burnished edges of each curl temper the frame’s scorched appeal; $480, lampsplus.com.

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Throne Room

Equal parts glam and goth, this Sculpted Aluminum Dining Chair is one of a set of four by late American designer Paul Evans and is Available from Kelly Wearstler’s West Hollywood showroom. the chair’s original button-tufted leather offsets the corroded texture of the welded frame; $7,500 for one, kellywearstler.com.

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Base Metal

New York–based sculptor Silas Seandel uses heat and acid treatments to create the unexpected finishes of his metal furniture. For the base of this 1970s Cocktail Table from Design/One in San Diego, humble steel gets the appearance of raw bronze; $2,800, designonemodern.com.

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Underworld

Brass tendrils unfurl to a height of three feet in the vintage Seaweed Sconce from San Francisco’s Coup d’Etat showroom. The ocean-inspired decorative design dates to 1950s France and represents Brutalism’s sculpted metalwork at its most refined; $4,990, coupdetatsf.com.

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Cage Light

Though he is best known for oversize concrete creations, Los Angeles–based designer James DeWulf found success in his first metal experiment, the Triton Pendant. To give each of the arms slight variations in shape and texture, DeWulf pounded out six separate iron forms and sand-cast each one in solid brass; $1,800, jamesdewulf.com.

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Brute Strength

To transform a 150-pound slab of wet clay into his Philodendron Leaf Table, available at Gray Gallery in West Hollywood, artist Peter Lane threw it on the floor and shaped it with his bare feet. Then he minimally carved the raw surface, glazed it and set it atop a cast bronze tripod; $15,000, graygallery.com.

Originally published in California Home+Design's Winter 2013 issue. Click here to subscribe.

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