Modern product design calls for “brutal” restyling
In the mid-twentieth century brutalist architecture proclaimed its unwillingness to overlay or cover in any way the building material used – raw concrete (beton brut in Le Corbusier’s French wording, which later gave the name to this style), brick, glass, steel etc., or to conceal the building’s functions. Criticized mainly for its “cold” appearance, affected by weather eroding decay and graffiti vandalism and ill-served by its success in the architecture of European communist countries, brutalism in architecture was abandoned but we still can retain its deeply honest and authentic approach to material and function alike. Modern product design makes excessive use of veneers, laminated surfaces, glossy coats and finishes, methods often employed to disguise the synthetic material, the low product quality, or both. In uncompromising brutalist spirit, we campaign against this mala fides attitude in product design and, instead, we make honest design while embracing and incorporating the sculptural qualities of natural raw materials.
We are the much necessitated “brutal” restyling!
Our design approach is reductive as a premise and optimal as function. The raw materials – mainly solid wood, steel and glass also – are natural and unpretentious as such, and nevertheless, exceptionally unique in their physical brute form. The design’s overtly crude nature firstly conveys a memory of vegetal growth bearing all the life markings of a tree in the forest. Every knot, where branches used to be, each coloration where minerals and lack of water formed the heartwood, all the splits and cracks caused by winds and cold seasons. Secondly, each design is a repository of craftsmanship, of people and their working tools: sometimes one can find the marks of the woodworker’s chainsaw, the brushing streaks of the polisher, hardly ever the oily handprint from applying the vegetable oil finish. In this way, a dialogue is made possible between the handcraft workers and the owner of the design-object, from the logger cutting a tree in the forest to the last craftsman whose hands and tools give its shape.
Archetypal images are a source of inspiration. Designs are created with a usage in mind but they surprise through their archaic intimations. Coat racks and totems or obelisks or crosses, tables and altar slabs. The timeless design combines with an ageless material, solid wood. In opposition to the industry’s wasteful exclusion of material flaws, we embrace the defects inherent in mature wood (knots, splits, cracks, color variations) as traits of distinctiveness and life markings. The finishes are mostly non-chemical and cosmetics like paint are avoided: charring, staining, natural oil finishes are viable organic options. Incorporation of the so-called “noncompliant” natural imperfections leads us to a significantly more responsible, sustainable and material-efficient approach to the design process.
Brute material is style.