Concrete Madness

Make room for Brutalism.

Carolyn Horwitz Current PSL, Shopping

Et tu, brut? Wallpaper from Murals brings Brutalism back 
in a big way.

111 East


Brutalism — has there ever been a more maligned architectural style? The name itself (said to be based on the French word brut, for raw or crude) can come across as pejorative, implying a barbaric impulse behind those hulking concrete forms.

Popularized in the 1950s and ’60s by Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, the style fell out of favor for several decades. But architecture, like everything else, is subject to trends. Once denounced as soullessly monolithic, Brutalism is being embraced for its stark functionality and the raw beauty of its quintessential material: concrete.

These attributes are not dissimilar to those of the midcentury modernism we revere in Palm Springs; in fact, there are prime examples of Brutalism-inspired buildings right here in the desert by beloved architects William F. Cody, E. Stewart Williams, Hugh Kaptur, and most notably, John Lautner, with his Elrod House.

There’s something mesmerizing about the repeating patterns and texture of iconic Brutalist structures, and Murals Wallpaper of Liverpool, England, is celebrating them with a line of designs for the home or office, starting at $35 per square meter.

Whether you choose the Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, London’s Welbreck Street car park, or the vaulted roof of a Washington, D.C., Metro station (shown here), you’ll be bringing the depth, scale, and stunning drama of these masterpieces indoors. But like with any good architecture, restraint is key: A single accent wall should be plenty.

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