Book Review – Industrial Chic : Cult furniture design and lighting

Cass and I have long been admirers and appreciate the worth of old authentic industrial furniture. Whether it be in the form of an original tolix chair weathered with a beautiful patina of its primary colour or the sheer functionality of a French sorting office counter.

The majority of industrial furniture find a perfectly good use within today’s modern home. These pieces have often had a hard life but still hold on to their core functionality that it was designed for at the beginning of its life.


This book was first bought to my attention whilst on a visit to a friends basement in the hunt of new stock. The cover caught my eye immediately, The photos are high quality in this book so from the first page turn it is easy to get sucked in by just browsing the pictures, all of which are of fantastic original industrial pieces.

The opening few pages are essential reading if you are to get the most out of this coffee table book. The author, Brigitte Durieux uses these pages to give a brief but concise round up as to who she thinks is responsible for the surge in popularity of industrial chic and when and where this surge was created. After this initial write up the book is set out in a simple manner, spanning through 50 stand out industrial design items from the ever popular handling and storage boxes, to obscure metal doll house furniture.

As not to spoil the book and to keep the blog post reasonably short I’m going to concentrate on a few of my favourite pieces from the 50 within the book.


First up the mighty inspection lamp. Industrial lighting is everywhere at the moment, we stock a range of filament bulbs and material felx cable in store and online. The inspection lamp is the ultimate nod to ‘simple design is good design’. Fundamentally made up of a cable, a plug, a socket and a bulb. Old examples with ebonised wooden handles are very desirable a new inspection light from your locally hardware shop just would cut the mustard now would it!!?




The navy chair is the absolute apitamy of industrial design born from the aluminium recycleing, which started at the beginning of the last century. Emeco saw a use for this aluminium and starting producing the navy 1006 chair that was constructed from 80% recycled aluminium. This chair had a number of standout qualities that deemed it operfect to be used on ships and submarines of the American militarty fleet. Lightweight, rustproof, strong and most importantly in this context anti-magnetic. The end of the cold war in the 70’s saw an end to production of the navy chair but its stunningly simple design saw it be picked up by Gregg Buchbinder who, with the help of modern day super star designer Philippe Starck took the chair design into a new direction that targeted the deign market.



Many industries benefited from the technical advances developed in the aviation industry at the end of the Second World War. Like the navy chair, the Esavian Limited desk & Chair made good use of aluminium due to other material shortages. In my opinion the cast aluminium bases make theses chairs so beautifully appleaing. I fell in love with the sweeping lines of the legs and back supports many years ago. These chairs were designed by James Leonard in 1948 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire and proved so popular they were common place across the USA.


All in all this book is a great informative read into 50 of the worlds most important industrial pieces. It makes no secret that this genre of design could be on a course to over saturation. There are lots of cheap poorly constructed copies of these pieces but there is no mistaking a true original that can stand the test of time.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s