It has been a crazy few weeks getting settled in to my new home, all the while digging into my passions for learning about the newest, hippest design trends. Which brings me to the necessity of today’s post. Today we are going to talk about Brutalism in the design world. Being French, I grew up around Brutalism Architecture in and around the streets of Paris. Any French mademoiselle worth her croissant would expect to know that the essence of Brutalism should transfer into in the design world. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s begin by a brief overview for any poor sod who has not been able to witness it with their own eyes.
The best known proto-Brutalist architecture is the work of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier, in particular his 1952 Unité d’habitation in France. Also known as Cité radieuse (Radiant City) and, informally, as La Maison du Fada (French – Provençal, “The Nutter’s House”), it’s located in Marseille, France, and was built between 1947 and 1952. One of Le Corbusiers’s most famous works, it proved enormously influential and is often cited as the initial inspiration of the Brutalist architectural style and philosophy. The apartments were equipped with built-in furniture, and specially designed storage walls with various cupboards and sliding doors, which were designed by Charlotte Perriand in collaboration with Atelier Le Corbusier. Additionally Perriand collaborated on the design of the apartment kitchens, 321 of the 337 units were equipped with the Cuisine Atelier Le Corbusier, type 1 kitchens, many of which are still in place due to their efficient use of space.
Brutalist buildings are usually formed with repeated modular elements forming masses representing specific functional zones, distinctly articulated and grouped together into a unified whole. Concrete is used for its raw and unpretentious honesty, contrasting dramatically with the highly refined and ornamented buildings constructed in the elite Beaux-Arts style. Surfaces of cast concrete are made to reveal the basic nature of its construction, revealing the texture of the wooden planks used for the in-situ casting forms. Brutalist building materials also include brick, glass, steel, rough-hewn stone, and gabions. Conversely, not all buildings exhibiting an exposed concrete exterior can be considered Brutalist. Another common theme in Brutalist design is the exposure of the building’s functions—ranging from their structure and services to their human use—in the exterior of the building.
So that’s my rant. I implore you to always try to add a bit of beauty to your day, and avoid Brutalist Web Design at all costs. In business, if your consumer doesn’t get you, your brand, or worse…a positive feeling, then chances are they won’t be buying from you. Oh, and Craigslist, when you’re ready for a REAL design, shoot me an email. *wink*
Vive la difference,