Designer Files: The New Industrial

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A few weeks ago I shared an article that discussed which design trends from seasons past have had the strength to move forward into 2015. One of the bigger décor looks that is finding traction is the industrial look – but it’s not the same heavy aesthetic that dominated the scene a few years ago. This refined “industrial” has a fresh feel that I’m looking forward to incorporating into upcoming projects.

To get a full insider scoop on how this trend has evolved, I asked some of Vancouver’s most talented artisans in the woodworking field to share their thoughts on the new industrial style.

Clint Moroz, The Longwalk Lodge

How have you seen the industrial trend evolve?

When this trend first became popular a number of years back, it didn’t gradually gain attention – it took off immediately and at a mass level. Seemingly every home, restaurant and shop had adopted the trend in a big way; we saw heavy pipes, rustic woods and distressed metals combined in everything from shelves to wall cladding to smaller household items.

As we look forward at how the trend is adapting to current styles, we are seeing an “industrial” that is much less stark and brute. Industrial pieces now are taking on more of a Scandinavian, clean aesthetic by comparison, and have looked to a new approach in order to remain relevant. We are still seeing reclaimed woods, but they are being paired with more interesting design elements, such as painted metals in a bright palette, or coloured resins rather than the heavily worn bare metals we’ve seen in the past. The industrial colourway and combos of a few years ago became too monochromatic, especially when used in lofts (or other industrial-inspired spaces).

Have you noticed a shift in the attitude of consumers toward industrial pieces?

Definitely. Previously, people were jumping on the industrial trend without actually thinking about if and why they liked it. It was about having everything industrial, rather than considering how the trend would work for them.

Clients today are being more selective and seeking out pieces that speak to them and suit their own personal style. We are happily shifting into a modern eclectic movement, a design approach that is encouraging people to mix, for example, a custom industrial table with a Victorian sofa in a contemporary setting; we don’t have fully “industrial” or “mid-century” homes anymore – we use pieces from different eras that all are representative of our individuality. The mass production items are less in demand, while craftsman pieces are what consumers are interested in.

Benji Nesdoly, Field in Town

What are you working on right now – what are you excited about within industrial/ custom woodworking?

I’ve been busy building new products and focusing on building up my collection. I’m all about working with new materials – taking the skills and styles that I’ve refined and trying them out with fresh materials.

Currently I’m really interested in working with hardwoods, I’ve been testing out combining beautiful Peruvian walnuts with complimentary woods to make unique combos (think: a stellar walnut with striking white woods). I’ve worked a lot with stains in the past, but now I see the direction moving toward letting the natural beauty of the woods take the focal point, so mixing the natural elements to create interest is where I’m seeing the look go.

You’ve been designing and creating for about a year and a half – what do you see as the future direction for Field in Town?

I think it’s really important as a designer to constantly be refining and improving your skill set. It’s all about the learning curve, you have to try in order to succeed, but also you sometimes have to try and fail in order to get a fresh perspective and see things in a new way. I keep gaining experience, and the more I do, the more I love it; the more I love it, the better my skills get. It’s a really positive loop.

Craig Pearce, Union Wood Co.

How has the aesthetic of the industrial look has evolved since you began in the industry?

In my opinion there was a certain amount of crudeness to the industrial look, back in 2009 when I began making this kind of furniture. I think with the trend catching on that the crudeness has been exploited a bit. Our customers are looking for a more refined product, but still have interest in the industrial-style furniture.

What are you excited about in terms of industry trends moving into 2015?

There is so much I’m excited about in the industry trends. So many great materials, and so many willing clients these days. I’m really into seeing what other people are doing, and with social media, it’s so accessible. It’s inspiring to see others creating, and keeps me, as a creator, on my toes.

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