Ten beautiful brutalist interiors with a surprisingly welcoming feel

For our latest lookbook, we’ve rounded up 10 brutalist interiors from the UK to Brazil and Indonesia that show how textiles, plants and colors can be used to soften monolithic concrete spaces and create a warm atmosphere.

Brutalism as an architectural style often uses concrete to create large, sculptural buildings. These interiors in brutalist buildings feature plenty of concrete and harsh angles, but still manage to feel both warm and welcoming.

Colorful tiles, wooden details and tactile textiles and an abundance of green plants have been used to create welcoming living rooms, bathrooms and even workspaces in these brutalist buildings, which include the Barbican in London and the Riverside Tower in Antwerp.

This is the latest in our lookbook series, which is visually inspired by the Dezeen archives. For more inspiration, check out previous lookbooks featuring granite kitchens, terrazzo restaurants and atriums that brighten up residential spaces.

The photo is by Tommaso Riva

A Brutalist Tropical House, Indonesia, by Patisandhika and Dan Mitchell

Designer Dan Mitchell worked with architecture studio Patisandhika to create this brutalist home in Bali, which features a double-height living room filled with books, records and potted plants.

The house has a two-level design inspired by modernist architect Ray Kappe’s Kappe Residence. Inside, colorful objects, textiles and furnishings draw inspiration from the work of Clifford Still, Ellsworth Kelly and the Bauhaus movement to give the home a warm feel.

Read more about A Brutalist Tropical Home ›

Large living room with concrete ceiling
The photo is by Niveditaa Gupta

House of Concrete Experiences, India, by Samira Rathod

As the name suggests, House of Concrete Experiments features sculptural concrete walls. Warm wood details offset the gray hues, while the concrete floor has been inlaid with black stones to create an interesting pattern.

Large windows and geometric skylights help make the room bright and inviting.

Learn more about the House of Concrete Experiences ›

Turquoise table in a room with concrete walls
The photo is by Olmo Peeters

Riverside Tower Apartment, Belgium, by Studio Okami Architecten

Studio Okami Architecten stripped down the walls of this apartment in Antwerp’s Riverside Tower to let its original structure take center stage.

Colorful details such as a turquoise table and sky blue spiral staircase and a playful, sculptural lamp give the house a contemporary feel, while plenty of green plants bring more life to the otherwise gray interior.

Read more about Riverside Tower Apartment ›

Atrium bathed in light in brutalist house
The photo is from Photographix

Rough Concrete, India, by The Grid Architects

Designed as a “neo-brutalist” house, Beton Brut in India has a number of dramatic features, including a sky-lit atrium that stretches across the house.

The Grid Architects described the house as “characterized by bare concrete, geometric shapes, a monochromatic palette and a monolithic appearance”. Wooden floors and furniture and many textiles soften the brutalist interior of the house and its potentially severe appearance.

Learn more about Raw Concrete ›

Shakespeare Tower Apartment by Takero Shimazaki Architects
The photo is by Anton Gorlenko

Barbican Apartment, UK, by Takero Shimakazi Architects

This apartment in the brutalist Barbican estate of London’s Shakespeare Tower has been revamped by Takero Shimakazi Architects in a nod to the client’s close ties to Japan.

Details such as checkered wood paneling and wooden joinery have been added throughout the apartment, which also features Japanese-inspired details including a tatami-lined area.

Read more about the Barbican apartment ›

Debaixo do Bloco Arquitetura
The photo is by Joana Franca

Concrete house, Brazil, by Debaixo do Bloco Arquitetura

Debaixo do Bloco’s design for this sculptural home in Brazil is divided into three sections to provide a clear distinction between the various programs.

Inside, the interior has a mid-century modern feel, with glossy wooden flooring and a PH glass table lamp by Danish designer Louis Poulsen decorating a side table.

Learn more about the concrete house ›

An office table and chairs inside the office
The photo is by Lorenzo Zandri

Smithson Tower Office, UK, by ConForm

The brutalist Smithson Tower in Mayfair is the location of this “simple” office designed by ConForm Architects. The studio divided the space into eight zones defined by the solid structural grid of the existing building and added low-level millwork.

The result is a design that softens austere office spaces and makes rooms more intimate.

Learn more about the Smithson Tower Desk ›

The Standard Hotel in London by Shawn Hausman Design
Photo courtesy of The Standard

The Standard London, UK, by Shawn Hausman

Designer Shawn Hausman created the colorful interior of The Standard hotel in London, located in a brutalist building, to contrast “the greyness of London”.

“I would say with this property we were a bit more colorful than usual, and I think part of that works in contrast to the brutalist building the hotel is in,” Hausman explained.

In the bathrooms, tiled walls in pink and black stripes and pops of pale mint green give the room a fun, playful feel.

Read more about The Standard London ›

The Preston Hollow by Specht Architects
The photo is by Casey Dunn

Preston Hollow, USA, by Specht Architects

The long, undulating concrete volumes of Preston Hollow in Dallas were designed to reference the brutalist Texas architecture of the 1950s and 1960s, but the house was built to wrap around the courtyards, creating a lively, open feel.

Inside the low-rise buildings, mid-century modern-style furniture nods to the house’s architectural references, but the interior is updated with the addition of modern art.

Read more about Preston Hollow ›

Barbican apartment designed by John Pawson
The photo is by Gilbert McCarragher

Barbican Apartment, UK, by John Pawson

British architect John Pawson created this apartment in London’s Barbican building using his signature minimalist aesthetic.

The flat, which overlooks central London and has a small concrete balcony, was left almost empty with just a few pieces of furniture and light wooden surfaces. Three works of art, a Buddha sculpture and a grandfather clock are the only decorative elements in the space.

Read more about the Barbican apartment ›

This is the latest in our lookbook series, which is visually inspired by the Dezeen archives. For more inspiration, check out previous lookbooks featuring granite kitchens, terrazzo restaurants and atriums that brighten up residential spaces.

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