Monday, April 20, 2015

Steampunk: The eclectically antique aesthetic of a time that never was

When you say steampunk, the image that frequently comes to mind is that of eccentric machines that seem both sci-fi and old timey and, in recent years, a subculture of people who wear corsets and period suits adorned with homemade mechanical accessories. One does not always encounter a steampunk-themed interior, but the subculture and literary genre has inspired many enthusiasts to combine this fusion of ornate and the industrial in their interiors.

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Evoking the brazen dreams of steampunk—a world where technology goes on a widely different direction—involves creating ornate 19th and early 20th Century detailing interspersed with themes typical of industrial design. “Steampunk” as a whole is rarely recognized as a theme among many designers; creating this look requires striking the right balance between the decorative Victorian flourishes and industrial themes.

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As with most industrial interior designs, steampunk favors the extensive use of metal, found and repurposed objects, and exposed brick. Wrought iron especially works well for the purpose as does copper and brass fixtures and scrollwork.

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Antique-looking furniture is a must. These should be in muted colors that favor browns and other earth tones. In contrast, decorative flourishes should be mechanical in appearance, which can include valves, meters, gears, and other repurposed pieces of salvaged machinery as accents.

The end result is not quite your typical industrial look, being more decorative than utilitarian, and yet not quite antiquated or gothic, while possessing hints of science fiction here and there.

I'm Scott Jay Abraham. I craft industrial-themed interiors for homes and offices. Want more of this? Follow me on Twitter.