Steampunk Design: Past, Present, Future Reimagined

Metropolis Interiors in Toronto's Junction neighbourhoodImage via Metropolis Interiors in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood

Steampunk, originally a literary subgenre of science fiction that reinvents the Victorian era, has recently gained traction as an aesthetic in interior design.  The interesting reimagining of 19th century machinery – and its components – into modern interiors makes a bold statement in the home, both as striking design but also from the commentary it offers about technology, history and the way forward.

Philippe Starck designs a restaurant in Madrid SpainInterior design by Philippe Starck for Ramses Restaurant in Madrid, Spain. Image via Eat Me Daily

For me the beauty of steampunk is its marriage of elements that seem oppositional: industrial elegance, the refinement of what’s raw. Steampunk design is influenced by the industrial era in Europe, and the beginning of the boom of automation and mass production, yet designs that fit within this category are handmade, one of a kind, avant garde.

wire hot air balloon planter by BHLDNImage via BHLDN

a kitchen inspired by steampunkImage via Visualize Us

Often characterized by baroque flamboyance and geometric motifs, steampunk looks range from gothic to quite playful.  If you’re looking to incorporate some steampunk in your interiors, here are some tips on what accents to look for:

  • Look for pieces from a bygone era, especially those made of metal, glass, leather, chain and raw woods.
  • Don’t be afraid to combine elements together, such as a raw hardwood tabletop with chunky metal legs and castors.
  • Bring new life to plants and your prized collection by displaying these in apothecary and specimen jars.
  • Create instant drama on your walls by displaying typographic signs, old maps, medical and scientific charts.
  • Re-imagine and repurpose items like gears, old camera and film equipment in new and exciting ways.

The Heart Machine by LaikinglandDesigned by Martin Smith, purchase through Laikingland

Or look for inspired pieces like this stunning little automaton called The Heart Machine by Martin Smith. What a wonderful gift this would make for the person who makes your heart go pitter-pat.

Images via Steampunk Home Decor

If DIY is more your style, here’s an interesting tutorial on creating steampunk inspired light switch plates.

From the shop Metropolis Interiors in TorontoImages via Metropolis Interiors

And if you’re in Toronto, the best place to go is Metropolis Interiors in the Junction.  There you’ll get lost in a dark other-wordly shop of beautiful oddities.  The owner-designer’s creations and relics are truly a sight to behold.

There’s something so damn cool about steampunk as a design aesthetic.  This is one design trend I am really looking forward to seeing more of.

Happy Monday everyone!

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