The brass trend

Choosing to display brass in your interior is not as innocent as it seems, it binds historical aspect to contemporary yearning. I guess the brass trend is part of a larger interest for more meaningful and long-lasting elements at home. From Scandinavian style, starring neutrals tones and raw materials, to modern bohemian interiors, introducing colors and patterns with a mix of Victorian furniture, brass is here to stay.

In the industrial interior style, topical for the last decade, the use of metal is mandatory. But even established styles know seasonal changes. This winter we saw a lot (or should I say tons?) of copper pictured in interior design and styling, copper has this characteristic brown/pink color that radiates warmth and comfort, thus makes it perfect for winter decoration. I heard this spring would be the brass era. But what exactly is a trend when it is related to a raw material, commonly used to produce hardware objects? How people could all be attracted to brass at the same time? (I mean before the sheep effect.) That was intriguing me, so I dug a little.

Brass is an alloy, made from copper and zinc. Very easy to machine, it is relatively brittle compared to other metals and alloys. However, it remains the most widely used metal element among copper alloys. Brass has boomed with the industrial revolution of the 19th century, when new machines were designed, requiring precision parts. Brass is today affordable and easy to find in various forms as widespread on the metals market.

Quite soon after the end of the manufacturing process, without a surface treatment, the copper alloys get coated with a thin film of oxide, leading to a dull and browning effect. Evocative, patina gives brass warmth and an already-used feeling, creating an intimate relationship between user and material, the same you have when you get a second-hand object at a flea market. The patina appearing relatively quickly, you don’t even have to wait a hundred years to feel this intimacy and you will forget your drawer knobs are mass-produced and you bought them at a DIY store. Patina is a mark and a sign of time passing by, whereas owner’s life goes short. “Highly polished, bright brass hardware and lighting is gone; rustic, dull and hammered brass is in. » notes

We witness a return towards the importance of material symbolic, inducing touch; we are getting rid of those chrome and stainless steel we used to like, now seen as too cold and clinical. We are back to materials we habitually use, in accordance with climate and seasons rhythm. You will find brass where it is held to be inherently: mainly in kitchen and bathroom, in elements you touch everyday, like taps, door handles and drawer knobs. Brass is not typical of the so-called industrial style but more evocative of craftsmen workshops, small factories, repair shops, laboratories, and all places when men are at work, not machines. Brass is a humble material, a non-pretentious gold, for low-profile people. It reminds nautical activities, a simple and healthy way of life.

Brass is of course related to others trends. According to Lotta Agaton, interior stylist, or Josefin Hååg from the blog 20kvadrat (among others), grey will be the go-to color of 2014. Some pastel or beige walls have been spotted too, neutrals seem to be back. While light colors are usually associated with spring, this season is also about dark walls: black, grey, dark blue or green. They will both act as a background to enhance home accessories, especially metallic’s.

Painting walls is an investment, both in terms of money and time. It will be driven by the desire to develop accessories and fittings, that you can easily move, change or update with the seasons. It is almost as simple than put flowers in a vase; it is about giving ourselves the opportunity to be carefree.

I guess you didn’t miss it, but marble is everywhere (the Carrara white marble aspect). This noble and timeless material is revisited around objects serving everyday uses, from its mineral form to adhesive contact paper. You can marblelize anything with great efficiency. Associated to marble, brass will balance the coolness of the stone, making the whole thing sophisticated and not blingy. You can even play with subway tiles.

An article by Lise.


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