Having emanated from the loft warehouses of Manhattan, reclaimed for low-rent living but earning cool credentials from the likes of Andy Warhol’s Factory, ‘industrial’ is a style which has long influenced interiors.
It has been established in restaurant environments and ‘borrowed’ by high-end kitchen interiors.
Commercial director for Crown Imperial Tony McCarthy comments industrial styling is “a trend that has grown with consumers looking to imitate professional restaurant-style spaces.”
But industrial styling is continuing to gain traction, as marketing manager at TKC Neil Taggart points out: “The industrial kitchen style has been rooted in the UK for some time with a renewed resurgence at the high-end over the last three years.”
And vice president of marketing for Caesarstone Jonathan Stanley points out the popularity of industrial styling in its portfolio: “We have seen a significant increase in interest for concrete-style surfaces from early adopting consumers who are proactively asking our showroom partners for these styles.”
Whether it is because it offers a timeless look with a modernistic appeal, or because the socio-economic climate has seen consumers clamour for clarity, mirrored by exposed interiors – ‘industrial’ styling is key.
And it is now an achievable look for the mainstream. Southern regional sales manager UK for Nolte Eddie Streader comments: “The industrial style is not strictly reserved for ‘haute couture’ kitchens, but can be adapted to all price groups.”
Creating industrial look
But what makes an industrial-style kitchen? Is it the layout, choice of material or texture?
Industry experts suggest it is a combination. Eddie Streader of Nolte explains: “Industrial is about tones, textures and materials.”
And senior category manager for Grohe UK Paul Bailey agrees: “We believe that material choice and texture are synonymous with industrial design. From raw materials like metal, wood and concrete to matte finishes to give texture and depth to a kitchen, these are the key identifying features that help create a successful industrial space.”
Manufacturers have explored raw material decors across product categories from worktops to furniture, lighting and brassware.
Consider the launches of rusted steel and concrete effect surfacing from the likes of Silestone, Caesarstone and most recently Egger for furniture frontals.
It has also given rise to the perennially popular grey kitchen. Product designer for Pronom Gerd Meier continues: “The cornerstone of industrial design is the materials – glass, metal and wood – and how they are brought together in a relaxed, design fusion.
“The combination of open and closed storage is also a key design characteristic of this kitchen style.”
In fact country manager of Schmidt UK David Roy believes, such is the importance of the material choice it “presents the first obvious look, followed by the layout. Size and scale are vital contributions to the look.”
Suiting all spaces
The rise of the industrial kitchen goes hand-in-hand with large open-plan or broken-plan projects and, obviously, warehouse loft-living.
But does that mean the industrial look is only relevant to large scale, modern spaces in city developments? The answer – in short – is no.
Eddie Streader explains: “It is about creating as much space as possible, even if space is at a premium and creating different areas where different shades or finishes are used to structure a room.”
And Vittorio Naidi, branch manager for Scavolini UK, agrees: “Today, consumers don’t have to live in a converted warehouse to indulge in the industrial trend. Mass appeal has meant that everything form lighting and furniture to decorative finishes is benefitting from a utilitarian look.”
So accomplished designers, of course, can inject an element of ‘industrial style’ into virtually any kitchen.
Although at first glance ‘industrial’ may at seem prescriptive – concrete worktops, furniture with metal open-shelving and filament pendant lights – it is highly tailorable to resonate across a broad church of consumers.
Vice president for marketing at Caesarstone Jonathan Stanley agrees: “The industrial look holds incredible potential for interpretation and customisation, giving designers a playground of possibilities when it comes to material and layout.”
It is why David Roy of Schmidt UK offers a warning and some advice to, arguably, less experienced designers: “An ‘industrial look’ might mean floor-to-ceiling stainless steel to one person, but to another it might mean an island on wheels and some reclaimed industrial pendent lights.
“Pin the expectations down from the start.”
But as with all trends, does industrial styling have a lifespan? Is it a passing fad or now staple sale for kitchen designers?
Industry experts tend to agree that ‘industrial’ is not an interior whimsy and, in fact, transcends trends as the kitchen forms part of the home’s construction and is therefore more closely aligned toarchitecture.
And it is why designers can expect to see industrial styling as a key part of manufacturers’ portfolios – across all categories in the kitchen.
Eddie Streader explains how industrial is key for Nolte: “2019 for Nolte is all about industrial and classic kitchens, and there is definitely a parallel between the two themes.
“Subtle colour notes from our Matt Lacquer Concept in the various door styles available teamed with a Corten Steel or Copper Oxide makes the perfect industrial or classic designed kitchen.”
Industrial styling is also at the heart of Scavolini’s first kitchen launch of 2019 – Mia.
Vittorio Naidi continues: “It was designed in collaboration with Italian chef Carlo Cracco and takes its inspiration from professional kitchens with features and materials that are highly practical, such as stainless steel.
“This look chimes perfectly with the current popularity of the industrial style and the kitchen.”
And, in fact, it is reflected in the latest kitchen offer from TKC, as Neil Taggart explains: “We’ve just introduced several new designs to inject a metropolitan feel into our portfolio and cater for those customers looking for a modern, industrial look.
“One of these is Boston Concrete by Egger, which mirrors the raw appeal of concrete.”
So there will undoubtedly continue to be growing demand for industrial kitchens.
But Gerd Meier of Pronorm explains the current styles will further develop. He concludes industrial “will evolve and create different looks within it, for example warehouse-style or more elegant and pared back, while still remaining true to its core principle of designing with natural materials of metal, glass and wood.”
Read more about all the kitchen trends for 2019.