I believe that Steampunk is more than just brass and watchparts. It's finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing yet still punkish way. It's living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future. It's taking the detritus of our modern technological society and remaking it into useful things. Join me as I search for items for my house that combine the scientific romanticism of the Victorians with our real present and imagined future.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Vintage Industrial Styling
I was amused by the post on how to use vintage industrial pieces over at Decor8. They suggest 4 styles: minimalist, bright, country and natural.
I'm not sure steampunk fits into any of them. The only one that resonates with me in "country", because it is the most likely to mix traditional styles and antiques with industrial pieces. I try hard not to go too country here at the Steampunk Home, though, because it missed the decrepit and geeky aspects of steampunk.
What do you think? Do vintage industrial pieces work for you or are they becoming passe?
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My answer is a resounding "it depends." There's a big difference in my mind between designs that evoke 19th century industry, the 40-50's "industry of the future!" and the 70's work project era type-stuff.
I have recently completed a steam punk room, in a designer showcase house. I used modern furnishings made of recycled wood, drab colors, hung old fatboy sockets with filament bulbs and cloth wire from the ceilings and down the walls. It looked like a classy attic. When I began I wanted to stay true to the movement, so I did a lot of research and came up with a definition of what steampunk is, in interior design, that I think works. Take anything industrial or mechanical from a previous era, and use it in an untraditional setting. Then, provided you make the other pieces meet the criteria of the industrial pieces, you've elevated the 'industrial items' to a more prestigious level of appreciation. I used old collapsable rulers for the top detail molding around the room and many folks passing through had no idea such a thing 'could be done'. Be creative of course and it's easier. Without the grit of an industrial or mechanical edge, I wouldn't call it steampunk....but that's just me. Congratulations on asking the question and keeping the movement alive. I think it is just beginning.
I like country to some extent.
Well... for a given value of country, anyway. I like French and Swedish country antiques A LOT and roosters and cow-shaped creamers NOT AT ALL and a lot of other things on the country spectrum somewhere in between.
Would a steampunk room become less steamy if the antiques were whitewashed instead of dark, or a Swedish mora clock instead of rich cherry wood? I don't think so.
Maybe I'm just Steampunk Summer Cottage? :)
For me, the vintage industrial pieces evoke a post-apocalyptic look, as though the living space has been carved out of former industrial/scientific quarters that have been rediscovered after the war/bomb/cataclysmic event. Repurposing the pieces for uses other than what they were originally designed for, such as coffee tables, planters etc. continues that feeling.
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