The Emergence and Evolution of Tough Luxe

Since we started out in 2014 we’ve worked on a number of industrial style interiors. Considering the material we work with this isn’t surprising, however, over the last couple of years we’ve seen a distinct trend and move towards industrial materials being paired with softer more refined, high end finishes. Concrete worktops and surfaces are more often being paired with sleek metal finishes, rich colours and fabrics to create a merging between two otherwise contrasting styles.

Tough luxe isn’t a new concept but an evolving trend. It is a pairing of contrasting materials and for us is best represented by the cool colours and textured surfaces of concrete being paired with fine and detailed finishes like brass, stainless steel, satin black or brushed gold.

‘This loft conversion in central London uses our cool grey concrete worktops paired with brushed brass finishes and warm lighting to create a tough luxe look. For Forma Studios we have been involved in a number of projects where natural & charcoal grey concrete surfaces have been paired with brushed brass and gold finishes,’ says Tim, Head of Design at Forma.

Our grey bespoke concrete worktop is beautifully offset by stunning brass work in this tough luxe interior in central London

Our grey bespoke concrete worktop is beautifully offset by stunning brass work in this tough luxe interior in central London

In London the existing housing hasn’t been the best platform for those with an industrial taste to look to experiment or create interiors that reflect this. Converted warehouses and loft-style apartments are few and far between and are typically found on the other side of the Atlantic in places such as Brooklyn and Williamsburg. Tough luxe seems to be born from a compromise that has turned into a high-end style of it’s own.

From our experience, industrial interiors have been reserved solely for buildings that compliment this style or for one room or a small area of a house where interior designers and homeowners can test or experiment with a bolder style. Perhaps tough luxe is a bridge between two styles and a way to merge the industrial look with older housing stock.

In London we have seen this style emerge and evolve over the last few years as we have grown as a business. We link the birth of tough luxe to the trend in basement conversions and kitchen extensions, areas that perhaps people see as a modern extension to their original house and a canvas to try and experiment with a fresh look.

By tying the industrial look into luxurious materials and finishes tough luxe has spread into many rooms of the house. It has been a real trend in fixtures, fittings and furnishings. 

The Stoned Table Lamp by Buster + Punch

The Stoned Table Lamp by Buster + Punch

We believe that this trend will grow in popularity in 2019 where we will see it’s appearance in commercial spaces expand, particularly in restaurant interiors. As restaurants tend to be thematic, incorporating tough luxe into their design allows the prefect opportunity to add a touch of delicacy and sophistication whilst still remaining playful. Indeed, tough luxe is a trend full of glamour that elegantly combines the rough and ready with the polished and luxurious.

For all the latest in tough luxe concrete interiors follow our Instagram or contact us for any enquiries.

  • by Tim Sprules, Head of Design @ Forma Studios, London