Brutalist architecture, which had its heyday from the 1950s to the 1970s, is usually the opposite of cozy-looking: its massive, fortress-like structures are characterized by repetitive modules of exposed concrete.
Despite this, London studio Custhom has found a way to make Brutalism cuddly. Designers Nathan Philpott and Jemma Ooi, graduates of the Royal College of Art, based their latest textile design on the architecture of the Hayward Gallery, a Brutalist classic within London’s Southbank Centre. Designed by a group of young architects that included Dennis Crompton, Warren Chalk, and Ron Herron, the Hayward Gallery was completed in 1968. The Hayward collection, which includes pillows, blankets, and tea towels, features a cotton-flax mix fabric printed with a grid of geometric solid blocks, a reinterpretation of the concrete building’s shapes. The fabric was produced by a British mill, whose craftsmen have been weaving textiles in the U.K. since 1720.
The textiles were presented at last week’s London Design Festival, alongside a limited edition collection of kitchen items including aprons, table runners, tea towels, and a throw, all for Brompton Food Market. The collection’s debut might mark the first time architecture nerds can literally wrap themselves up in the rugged, no-frills geometries of one of the world’s most brutal buildings.