Brute: Buyers Guide

A selection of unapologetically minimalist looks in concrete, stone, and glass

Drawing from industrial designer Dieter Ram’s philosophy, “less but better,” Brute stems from the idea that design should be essentially minimal. Brute is inspired by the resurgence of the Brutalism movement in mid-century architecture – an unapologetic form of expression and appreciation for the bare. Determined to make a statement, this aesthetic evokes a dystopian society.

Traditionally, Brutalism was brought about from a rebuttal of the frivolity of 1930s and 1940s designs, an attempt to be bold and break traditions. The renewal of this design movement comes from the idealistic society we currently live in. The rise of idealist technology culture has forced design to evolve by adding smart homes, LED, and touch-activation into our spaces.

With use of materials such as concrete, stone, and glass, an appreciation for natural elements becomes prevalent. Transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces are seamless – creating a balance between the artificial, man-made and elemental worlds. Architectural spaces are designed with a free flowing modularity and negative spaces that allow light to pass through. Designs have less to do with materials and decoration – most are devoid of any and all ornamentation – and more to do with function and statement. Details are uninterruptedly integrated; silhouettes are angular, jarring, and sleek.

Limited on decoration, this trend makes its bold statement through the contradiction of complicated simplicity. Inspired by Modernist sculptor, Brancusi, the mixing of curvilinear surfaces with a structural geometric pillar creates a push and pull of visual tension that adds element of interest. Circular dining tables bring focus to a central point in the room, which in Brute are likely to be minimal.


A structural bed frame brings the element of architecture into a bedroom. A piece, similar to this four-poster bed is deceivingly intricate – simple and monochromatic at first glance, the metal frame is wrapped with stitched leather panels for an element of complexity. The hard and soft mix of this design creates a refined way of using only the essentials.

Baker Furniture

A non-traditional approach, this bench emulates the infrastructure of architecture. The bench is a modular piece that can function as a multi-use tool and can be moved around to change the flow of a space. The simplistic design is updated with curved legs and an angular seat, which draws from the hard and soft of the brutalist movement. A textured steel body adds dimension without any added decoration.

Bernhardt Furniture

What looks like a stack of materials, this console table is designed with concrete to build structure. The varied sizing and placement of layers creates a texture and dimensional element in the simplest form. The blend of stacking heights and the brushed concrete surface give the piece an industrial yet organic look and feel. A naturally distressed treatment brings the effect of an outside architectural element into the home.

Made Goods

Designed to create a powerful statement without overwhelming the space, decorative objects are kept minimal with clean lines and complicated by mixing materials. The combination of brass and marble falls back on the ideal of the natural world combining with a futuristic society. A ‘study of restraint,’ sculptures such as this instantly allow an elevated art gallery look and feel.


Brutalism originates from beton-brut, which translates to “raw concrete,” which these decorative objects emulate perfectly. The less-is-more philosophy creates a statement with minimal materials expressed in the simple shape of a circle. These oversized, distressed spheres can be placed together, separate, or in groups to sculpturally shape a large space – a modularity that makes it easy to change up a space.

Made Goods

Pendant lighting is stripped of all ornamentation and uses only the essentials – the bulbs. This simple approach is highlighted by hand-blown glass bulbs, adding an organic element and arranged in a planned, gathered formation. Similar pieces home in on the brutalist approach by embracing simplicity and statement all at once.


Backlit wall sconces encase their bulbs to define a minimalist approach to lighting. Taking on the true meaning of Brutalism, materials are treated and morphed into a second life with heat to create distressed textures. These acid wash treatments create a one-of-a-kind statement resembling a work of art for the wall.

Studio A

The Concrete Art Movement focused on abstract geometry – a piece like this takes that name quite literally. Concrete wall art mimics the textures seen throughout Brute and layers them – providing a seamless integration of art and texture in the home.

Made Goods

Simplicity resumes with refined modern monochromatic sofas. The single cushion design and curvilinear frame adds a softness that the rest of Brute lacks. The rounded back prompts inclusivity, and creates an encased retreat where one can feel an emotional pull. The stainless steel legs – each thoughtfully placed around the base edge – contrast the soft tweed upholstery.

Thayer Coggin

Distressed yet strongly geometric – Brute’s ideas also easily translate into soft goods. This print acts an optical illusion by creating a seemingly rough texture and faux dimension, similar to the mixed planes of Cubism. A floor textile adds warmth, depth, and a point of interest to a room while the rest of the Brute lifestyle stays ultra stark.


Merging the elements of man-made architecture and the natural world, this chest is both structural and organic. Devoid of any hardware and combined with a structural base, the design resembles a piece of modern architecture in itself. A textured, abstract facade – created from a time consuming carving technique – adds to the idea of thoughtful design of something seemingly simple.

Studio A

Storage becomes a form of architecture – a block-form unit balances out the negative space created by a streamlined structured base. Items are encased behind doors, hidden away instead of proudly displayed, to hone the minimalism of Brute. The textural combination of polished stainless steel and colored gloss latex create contrast in a place where color is carefully interjected for a bold presentation.

Thayer Coggin

Overall, Brute is thoughtful minimalism; using only what is necessary to create an impactful simplicity. We seek a minimal world as an escapist retreat, our own fortress that protects ourselves from our ever-changing culture. Brutalism is the antithesis of lightheartedness – it is a bold, grounded approach determined to make a powerful statement.