Industrial Cool

Industrial cool hasn’t yet got an Oxford English dictionary definition and the jury’s out at the moment as to cobbling together a definition. I’ll have a go of trying to explain what it is. And what it is not.
It is not you going to the remains of the Fukushima nuclear plant and saying “cool”! Nor should it be applied to any genuine industrial building, set of buildings or complex. That’s not to say that there are not some great modern stylish designs for modern industrial buildings out there. My interpretation of industrial cool is closer to home, and more domestic. I think it relates to rooms in a home, and the furniture and equipment that adorn those rooms, being of an “industrial” nature. That is having the appearance of being more suited to a factory floor, a car or retro electrical workshop, a warehouse, a railway shed, a power production facility.
A common industrial chic room or series of rooms are likely to be open plan, and have bare brickwork walls, or brick walls that have had a coat or two of paint applied to them. But better still if that was a few years ago and they are peeling in places. It adds extra kudos to the cool factor! Yes anything distressed is halfway to being industrial cool. That can include furniture, floors, walls ceiling, light fittings and even baths and plumbing items!
I lived with someone who imported some functional no-nonsense metal furniture that had been sold by the closed down New York Mental Institution. I was never sure of the metal, but they had certainly seen action, and were grubby and discoloured. No actual rust, but scars and scrapes that the furniture had accumulated over the 50 years they had been in use in the Institution. They were much admired, and when I came to sell them after 5 years (when moving to a cottage-type home where they would have been quite unsuitable, I was paid more than I originally paid for them. Such is the lure of industrial cool!
However industrial cool does NOT mean making your living spaces as close to possible as a factory floor. By putting a little colour and some wood and rugs and even modern artwork or sculpture you can create a juxtaposition of the homely and the hard industrial.. A warm antagonism if you will. For example if you have flagstone floors in your living area or dining room, then have an earthy but homely heavy duty rug on them to stamp homeliness on industrial harshness. Do you get the idea?
Look out for old wooden barrels to refurbish and have seat cushions made for them. Look out for old Billiard and Snooker Table or Hall lights.. These are great to have over your dining room table. Chic and cool. Industrial cool.
Once you’ve got “on the beam” as to what industrial cool is, then you start to spot things in skips and in junk shops that you could acquire and (partially) renovate to add to your industrial cool room. It’s a little more difficult (but not impossible for kitchens) to have industrial cool, because of course you want any room where food is being prepared to be ultra-clean. But my friend acquired some old Post Office wooden sorting racks with pigeonholes for letters and parcels. These look great on her wall, housing much of her kitchen bits and bobs.