Welcome to AirSpace, an article written by Kyle Chayka for The Verge, looks at the faux-artisanal aesthetic of ‘industrial’ interior design and its sudden rise in popularity in both residential and commercial zones.
A particular kind of generic style has exploded in popularity over the last 10 years. Suddenly, you can’t go into a new home or café without seeing minimalist furniture, reclaimed wood, exposed brick, industrial lighting and some sort of black feature wall – most likely chalk paint.
Chayka has dubbed this new aesthetic “AirSpace.” It’s commonly found in coffee shops, bars, start-up offices, and co-living/workspaces around the world, but retail premises aren’t immune.
Today, industrial buildings are sought after as locations for large group events, such as weddings, because of their open structures and ‘industrial chic’ look. With few to no walls blocking abundant natural lighting, abandoned urban factories are ripe for repurposing.
The AirSpace aesthetic tends to appeal most to Western business travelers who enjoy the comforts of what’s familiar, while also appreciating the sense of adventure and cachet that comes from being in a new environment.
Chayka explains that the rise of AirSpace can be attributed to companies fostering a sense of placelessness by using technology to break down geography. AirSpace seems to be becoming a global benchmark for modern and stylish interior design.
“The connective emotional grid of social media platforms is what drives the impression of AirSpace,” Chayka says. “If the taste is globalised, then the logical endpoint is the world in which aesthetic diversity decreases.”
In the meantime, as urban areas are becoming increasingly more similar, it is becoming harder to dislike clean, modern lifestyle spaces.
The style may become outdated – there’s a good chance it may become overused to a point where it becomes this century’s wooden paneling or plastic-covered sofas. Our children could easily look back and think, ‘Ugh, that exposed brick and Edison lighting features are so early 2010!”
It’s impossible to stop the spread of this generic lifestyle decor, so for the while, the best thing to do is simply enjoy it or adapt to something else.