Do you appreciate the charm of old factory buildings, railway roundhouses or workshops? Magnificent halls full of moulding and statues do nothing for you, but a former factory building with exposed brick walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and visible cast-iron supports makes your heart flutter? Then the factory style is the right look for your home. We’ll teach you more about this hot interior design style and show you how you can use parquet or design flooring to bring the ‘unvarnished’ look of industrial architecture into your own four walls. Find your inspiration!
The factory style (also known as the industrial style or industrial design) first arose in the lofts of New York City: former factories and warehouses converted into living space. Today, we can also find it in typical apartments and offices around the world. This style delivers the naked truth: without embellishment, without veneers and without indulgence. The main characteristics of the factory style are bare walls, durable flooring with a bold, raw look and furnishings that have industrial charm, such as old warehouse shelves, metal lockers or wooden workbenches. Key features of this look are simple materials and barely processed or refined materials such as stone, steel, cast iron, corrugated sheet metal, concrete or old wood. Paradoxically, factory style is still considered a romantic look, despite the raw surfaces and materials. Our post-industrial viewpoint on the industrial age is pure nostalgia. That time appeals to us on an emotional level because we glorify it as an era of hard work, honesty, forthrightness, modesty and ingenuity. We view it in much the same way the people of the Romantic era, on the first cusp of industrialisation, reflected on pastoral life and the cottage industries of a bygone era.
A no-frills, purpose-built approach is typical of the factory style interior design trend. In old factory buildings, there was no reason to conceal support beams, pipes or ventilation shafts, or to opt for furnishings or tools that were anything other than purely functional (although their masterful, streamlined ‘form-follows-function’ design was still incredibly beautiful!).
Redesigning a conventional living space in the industrial design style requires some creative thinking, however. A great deal of renovation work is generally also necessary, but not in the usual sense: Wallpaper and drywall comes down instead of going up, cables hang freely from the ceiling rather than disappearing behind plaster, and pipes and radiators are put on display instead of behind hidden. Whether external changes are really in the spirit of the functional factory style is another question: In an old factory, they never would have gone to the trouble of removing plaster that was already there just to experience the raw aesthetic effect of bare brick walls ...
There’s a lot of room for creativity in this industrial style. Weathered or polished surfaces, old materials and visibly used items are as wonderful a fit for this interior design trend as brand-new furniture and accessories. Depending on your personal preferences, the factory style can look ‘ravaged by time’ or shiny and new. Naturally, it can also be a balanced combination of both. You can bring the industrial look to your own four walls with a very modest budget, as well. One person might take in an old shelf left on the side of the road, whilst another buys an expensive designer piece. You can dive head-first into renovations, or you can leave the rust and crumbling plaster the way it is. Interior designers can plan the space down to the last little detail, or the concept can be completely improvised using cheap pallets and hollow bricks. No other interior design trend offers quite as much variety and versatility!
So, which flooring will show the factory style to best advantage in your home or office? The answer is simple: You can choose whatever appeals to you. Different surfaces – from smoked oak parquet to grey laminate flooring in imitation slate all the way down to design flooring with an old wood finish – perfectly encapsulate the many different versions of the industrial look.