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Eight living spaces that go heavy on metal furniture

Although more commonly associated with industrial applications, furnishings made of cool-toned steel, aluminium and chrome are infiltrating every room of the home. This lookbook rounds up eight living spaces that show how it’s done.

In recent years, a growing cohort of young designers has been experimenting with humble, industrial metals – often using only one material, which is left raw and unfinished to promote recycling.

Among them are Paul Coenen, Annie Paxton and David Taylor, whose Knuckle light made of bent aluminium tubing was crowned lighting design of the year at the 2023 Dezeen Awards.

Contrasted against natural materials like timber and stone, these pieces can add a raw, industrial edge to interiors while still feeling refined.

Read on for eight living spaces from around the world that are toughened up with steely metal furnishings, including a Ukrainian log cabin, a flat in Antwerp’s brutalist Riverside Tower, a Melbourne residence set in a former chocolate factory and two separate São Paulo apartments.

This is the latest in our lookbooks series, which provides curated visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more examples, see previous lookbooks featuring homes with slides, colourful renovations and New York City lofts.

Bed in wood-panelled bedroom with retro lightingBed in wood-panelled bedroom with retro lighting
Photo by Andrey Bezuglov and Maryan Beresh

Relogged House, Ukraine, by Balbek Bureau

Balbek Bureau set out to offer a modern interpretation of a traditional log cabin in this renovation, contrasting the building’s warm timber panelling with an industrial palette of concrete and metal.

The Ukrainian studio created several custom furniture pieces for the cabin, including a trio of sleek stainless-steel consoles that frame the low-lying bed.

Find out more about Relogged House ›

Highbury House, UK, by DaytripHighbury House, UK, by Daytrip
Photo by Gareth Hacker

Highbury House, UK, by Daytrip

A vintage zinc-plated lamp stands atop a brushed aluminium console by American sculptor Jane Manu in the hallway of this renovated Victorian terrace house in London.

The home was designed by interiors studio Daytrip and furnished by Sophie Pearce, founder of design gallery Béton Brut, to contrast a “gallery-like minimalism” with organic materials and forms.

Find out more about Highbury House ›

Frederic Chopin Apartment, Brazil, by Tria ArquiteturaFrederic Chopin Apartment, Brazil, by Tria Arquitetura
Photo is by Fran Parente

Frederic Chopin Apartment, Brazil, by Tria Arquitetura

Brazilian studio Tria Arquitetura went beyond furniture and enveloped an entire column in this São Paulo apartment in sheets of stainless steel to offer a cool, sharp-edged contrast to the wood and other warm tones in the living room.

The home belongs to an art-loving couple and was designed to accommodate their collection of art and collectible design.

“The main concept in the choice of finishes and architectural solutions was to bring comfort but still leave a big void so that the works could dress the house,” said Tria Arquitetura.

Find out more about Frederic Chopin Apartment ›

Riverside Tower apartmentRiverside Tower apartment
Photo by Matthijs van der Burgt

Riverside Tower apartment, Belgium, by Studio Okami Architecten

Metals in different finishes meet inside this duplex apartment in Antwerp’s brutalist Riverside Tower, where local firm Studio Okami Architecten exposed the building’s original concrete structure.

Sleek metal surfaces provide a counterpoint to the rough finish of the walls, painted baby blue in one instance to form a spiral staircase and elsewhere left raw in the form of cabinets and a sculptural kitchen island.

Find out more about Riverside Tower apartment ›

Kerr, Australia, by SSdHKerr, Australia, by SSdH
Photo by Pier Carthew

Kerr Street, Australia, by SSdH

Eclectic metal furniture takes centre stage in Melbourne’s Kerr Street apartment, which is housed in a former chocolate factory.

Among them are folded aluminium stools, a two-seater armchair with an undulating frame and a chainmail-fringed side table by local designer Annie Paxton.

Find out more about Kerr Street ›

Apartment A by Atelier DialectApartment A by Atelier Dialect
Photo by Piet-Albert Goethals

Apartment A, Belgium, by Atelier Dialect

Apartment A in Antwerp delivers a more pared-back take on the theme, pairing a chromed metal floor lamp from Reggiani with a steel-bottomed velvet-upholstered daybed by Belgian designer Jonas Van Put.

In the bedroom, Belgian studio Atelier Dialect went a step further and installed a bathtub wrapped in panels of mirrored steel in the middle of the minty-green room.

Find out more about Apartment A ›

Canal Saint-Martin apartment by Rodolphe ParenteCanal Saint-Martin apartment by Rodolphe Parente
Photo by Giulio Ghirardi

Canal Saint-Martin apartment, France, by Rodolphe Parente

Metal covers almost all of the surfaces in the kitchen of this Haussmann-era apartment in Paris, as well as spilling over into many of the other rooms.

In the living room, there is Axel Chay’s unlacquered aluminium Septem stool, while the bathroom is brightened up by the Morgans chair – created by French designer Andrée Putman for Emeco – whose aluminium frame is polished to such a high shine it basically functions as a mirror.

Find out more about Canal Saint-Martin apartment ›

Gale Apartment, Brazil, by Memola EstudioGale Apartment, Brazil, by Memola Estudio
Photo by Fran Parente

Gale Apartment, Brazil, by Memola Estudio

Part of the balcony in this São Paulo apartment was converted into a bar and lounge area as part of a renovation by local practice Memola Estudio.

The practice designed a custom metal bar for the space that matches the nearby kitchen cabinetry while adding an industrial edge to the seating area with its low-slung soft furnishings.

Find out more about Gale Apartment ›

This is the latest in our lookbooks series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks featuring homes with slides, colourful renovations and New York City lofts.