Fast Company

Recession Style Watch: Introducing Industrial Rustic

A year ago, some designers reacted to the distress of the financial pages by borrowing imagery from farming and scenes of rustic subsistence, a style informed by the fear that we can no longer rely on banks and other institutions.  The subtext seems to be that when people get scared their impulse is to strip everything away from their previous lives and go back to basics. Designers and architects reflected that in abstract form, as in this barn home in the Netherlands with a floating appearance in the Netherlands by the Dutch firm JagerJanssen.

The Milan Furniture Fair, design’s most responsive gauge of the moment, showed stirrings last year of a new rustic that expressed the virtues of farmhouse simplicity and signs of the human hand in stitching and other details. The young Dutch firm Studio Job, for example, presented 24 cast-bronze farm objects, including a pail, shovel and pitchfork, and a line of stout Bavarian farm furniture laser-cut with colorful images of pigs, chickens, cows and sheep, all displayed in a stylized barnyard.

Meanwhile, abstracted and refined version of the farmhouse table, like the Oak Kubus Table from Lekkar Home shown above, began showing up in catalogs and shelter magazines.

This week a Dutch designer named Jonas Trampedach launched TRE, line of furniture descended from the simple farm stool.

Today the New Rustic appears to have evolved into a rougher form which distinguishes it from the twee country seen in the pages of Martha Stewart Living. This latest iteration is tempered with an industrial edge, as if Steampunk had gone country. With its industrial pendants, the dining room above suggests a Victorian workplace with a scientific edge.

This country kitchen has a touch of the retro laboratory, with its stainless steel storage trays and leather-upholstered swivel chairs.

These two rooms in a newly renovated Ohio farmhouse show the coming fashion for industrial cast-offs: vintage worktables, hospital lights and military storage.

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