How to Put the Shine Back Into Modern Interiors

How to Put the Shine Back Into Modern Interiors

At sunrise and sunset, the low sun bursts into interior spaces to flood them with joy like no ceiling or wall fixture can. Those times, however, are fleeting and difficult to catch amongst a heavy schedule.

Instead, interiors with glinting, characterful metallic surfaces like brass can catch and reflect light, both natural and even artificial, to recreate that same golden warmth at any time of day or night. More charismatic than chrome but less showy than gold, the brushed or weathered texture of brass makes the perfect accent for interiors looking for that timeless quality.

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077 Residence / Lenka Mikova. Image © BoysPlayNice

Keep it clean

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077 Residence / Lenka Mikova. Image © BoysPlayNice

Adding brass accents to furniture and fittings reminds me a little of 1920s interior style. The decade is big right now, but to remain consistently stylish in those to come, characterful brass accents must remain clean and simple.

At Lenka Mikova’s 077 Residence, for example, in Prague, simple tubular brass lighting fixtures like Axolight’s Ego spot combine with the flat surfaces of door handles, furniture and flush plates like the Diamond Flush in polished brass from Aquadomo, along with a humble wall light with a smooth brass background, similar to the Plate and Sphere pendant from Atelier Areti.

Stay natural

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The Hide at Chalk / Tala. Image © Stuart Dudelston

At the 077 Residence, matching tubular brass tapware fittings like Stern Engineering’s Antique Brass Tubular 1000 are joined by natural stone surfaces like white marbles, black granite, and red travertine. The use of other natural materials such as leather, wood, and flora can help to bring the luxurious look of brass down to earth, ensuring it remains accessible. The Ren collection from Poltrana Frau exemplifies this, combining simple walnut veneer a-frames with leather-clad trays and plinths, connecting the two materials with brass edging and accessories for a sophisticated look.

The Hide woodland retreat, meanwhile, is a cozy hideaway for newlyweds to enjoy their first few days of marriage, close to the Chalk wedding venue in the Wiltshire countryside, United Kingdom. With a hand-picked blend of contemporary, traditional, and natural styles and materials such as its sculpted brass-plate light fixtures, copper slipper bath, timber backdrop, and rustic furniture, the romantic getaway is free from the rest of the world in an indiscernible place and time.

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Poltrana Frau’s Ren collection. Image © Ren

Contrast with color or without

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Grand Apartment / Yodezeen architects. Image © Andrii Shurpenkov

Along with natural, simple materials, the colors chosen to blend with brass can have a powerful impact on the interior’s mood. Warm greys and cool, deep oceanic colors like turquoise greens and any shade of blue provide a stunning backdrop for brass accents. In the Blau restaurant in Stuttgart, Germany, for example, square frameless blocks of deep blue and grey are divided by brass-colored, doorways while the material palette again looks to warm amber-colored leather seating and green marble tabletops.

A more dramatic contrast can be drawn, however, by keeping the color scheme in check. Tom Dixon’s Scoop chair, for example, is available in the designer’s identifiable range of monochrome tones and metal accents of copper and chrome. But the combination that really brings the chair to life adds polished brass legs to a dark black seat.

In the Apartamento Sardenya in Barcelona, Spain, a monochrome color scheme of bare white walls and black kitchen cabinetry is interposed with flashes of color and pattern from animal print fabrics and black/white marble. As a further contrast to both, the brass kitchen tap and sink stand out while strips of brass edging help to split and identify space.

Communicating accents

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The Tubular Horizontal light from HENGE. Image © HENGE

By sprinkling magical brass dust over interiors in delightful but carefully considered touches, the brass effect is at its most potent. The rule is little and often, rather than hard and heavy. Incorporated brass elements with a common theme or style can instantly tie together interiors. For example, clean, flat brushed brass can be very simply applied from bottom to top in wall sockets, switch plates, and refined wall lighting like the SIM Frame lights from KAIA.

Alternatively, the Grand Apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, shows how tubular brass pendants like the Tubular Horizontal fixture from HENGE can work with similar brass floor lamps and a brass framework over the walls to tie the space together. Both Time & Style’s Transit sofa and Roll & Hill’s Gridlock ceiling fixture also show how the tubular brass motif can be applied throughout an interior’s range of products.

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Roll & Hill’s Gridlock light all centre around a cylindrical brass motif. Image © Roll & Hill

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Cite: James Wormald. "How to Put the Shine Back Into Modern Interiors" 13 Sep 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

BLAU Restaurant / SOMAA. Image © Zooey Braun


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