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Exposed bricks: stylish, tactile and timeless
Exposed brick, in both design and architecture, is deeply rooted in the past and therefore counts among the most lasting trends ever: an actual bridge between the past and the future. Bricks, be they solid or hollow, with their basic shape are witness to the passing of time, a constant presence in the history of architecture thanks to the infinite variety of shapes – in Italy more than anywhere in the world: from Roman times until today, giving historic centers their peculiar character.
In our collective imagination, bricks are a symbol of home. In a famous scene from Federico Fellini’s Amarcord movie (1973), Calcinazz’s legendary poem is dedicated to all bricklayers who have consumed their lives “making bricks” for other people’s homes, remaining yet homeless themselves. And it is not by chance that LEGO Danish company has based its behemoth empire on little, colorful, stackable bricks to develop kids’ creativity.
Bricks have subsequently been reinterpreted through the years, transforming themselves from wall and covers building elements to stylish claddings, even in interiors. A transformation that allowed bricks to preserve their continuity. Exposed brick on both walls and ceilings, in fact, is now a trend – even as a merely decorative element. For lovers of raw materials, from New York lofts to country homes, exposed bricks help create unique atmospheres, from industrial to vintage to rustic-chic.
Here we have selected 8 buildings and interiors worldwide, that employ exposed bricks’ property to generate ever new combinations – be it a wall’s portion, a whole wall or a raw space, exposed without the least plastering or painted, making it a perfect contemporary style detail, or breathing new life into classic interiors.
In this reinterpretation of a London Victorian home by Groupwork and Amin Taha Associati, exposed brick walls on the house exteriors have been employed in order to lend visual continuity to the setting. Although maintaining its stand-alone framework, the building features a red exposed brick façade, a non-bearing superstructure that perfectly echoes the style of the nearby buildings, integrating itself with the typical late 1800s row houses (read also → Mattoni a vista e rivestimenti in legno per una casa a Londra).
Photo credits © Nick Lehoux
Cupertino most famous company, too, gives up total white. This Brooklyn-based Apple Store features a brand-new look, including a more intense color palette, red bricks and wooden furnishings inspired by the industrial past of the neighborhood in which the ex-factory hosting it is located. A loft-style, industrial space that perfectly fits Apple’s latest concept – that of integrating into the district’s everyday life, offering it a sort of community space (read also → Mattoni a vista e arredamento in legno per l'Apple Store di Brooklyn)
From the USA to Asia, Beijing, too, goes back to tradition. Following the client’s wish to create a “free café” that might bring the mountains to the city center, Robot3 interior design studio has devised a setting to give guests the feeling to breathe the air of the high cliffs. How? By employing natural materials and elements, wooden furniture, shelves with green potted plants and solid brick walls that become gradually exposed depending on the different stories (basement, mezzanine floor and gallery) in which space is vertically arranged (read also → Mobili in legno e mattoni a vista in un bar a Pechino)
Photo credits © Nick Rochowski
Nothing is better than a contemporary reinterpretation of the vaulted ceiling to pass down Italian style and innovation at the same time. Located in the Marylebone London neighborhood, the Fucina Italian restaurant features a visually dynamic, stimulating setting thanks to its wave-shaped ceiling, made of old handmade exposed bricks, modeled and de-formed in order to recall a traditional wood oven (read also → Mattoni faccia a vista per un ristorante italiano a Londra).
Photo credits © Karolina Bąk
Poland. A contemporary restyling turns the industrial style of these interiors into a warm, intimate atmosphere by restoring the historic details of the storehouse of a former jam factory. Above all the terracotta exposed raw brick walls that eventually turn into typical vaulted ceilings, juxtaposed to off-white, raw surfaces and white marble worktops (read also → I mattoncini a vista dell'ex fabbrica marmellata protagonisti di un loft).
Melbourne, Australia. In a neighborhood of Victorian worker houses, MRTN Architects studio curates the renovation and extension of one of these homes, preserving the original elements yet completely revolutionizing the interior arrangement. A hallway, designed as a proper contemporary cloister, decorated by a secret garden and entirely built from red bricks, becomes a passageway but also an additional, flexible and multifunctional area where the family can play, or work, or spend relaxing moments in a seamless connection with the outdoor space (read also → Come ristrutturare una casa storica).
Let’s conclude with made in Italy restyling. Maintaining an international vision, at the same time paying homage to brick as a basic element to the urban suburbs of the Emilian capital city, the owners of a former carpenter’s shop in the center of Bologna have turned the old building into a boutique bed & breakfast. Interiors, which feature a rather creative, vintage, almost NY-like atmosphere, stand out for their concrete and iron finishing in juxtaposition with the raw brick walls. Iron is a leading element in some of the furnishings, too, such as the staircase and bookshelves (read also → Un indirizzo per dormire a Bologna e sentirsi a New York ).
Still in Italy, in the province of Lucca. Here, too, the renovation – although in a more traditional style – of a stone farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside by MIDE Architetti studio features an approach which is fully respectful of the original structure, underlying at the same time new, contemporary elements. Exposed bricks, Matraia stones and chestnut wood, either plastered or raw, make for a very evocative background that further highlights the iconic modern design furnishings (read also → Il restyling di un antico casale nella campagna toscana).
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