I lived for a time in Boston, not far from this monster of a building. This is brutalism. Just reading the definition below, the most “brutal” by far that I found, makes me want to cry. So much for the 1950s and 60s.

style of architecture or art characterized by a deliberate plainness, crudity, or violence of imagery. The term was first applied to functionalist buildings of the 1950s and 1960s that made much use of steel and concrete in starkly massive blocks.

The only way I can take my brutalism is in small doses.

These two little objects are from CB2. Since I’m a fan of the occasional “objet” in decorating, I like these little pieces of brutalist art. They’re just something to look at and ponder.

Mostly though I like my brutalism in jewelry.

However, unlike with architecture there seems to be no agreed upon criteria for brutalist jewelry. I’ve seen things that look punk, steampunk, modern, and just poorly made with cheap materials called “brutalist.” 

I think we can agree though that even if something is meant to look plain, crude, or even “violent” it has to be designed well to be an example of a genre.

This neck piece looks more like an example of “steampunk” than brutalism, but I found it on Etsy when I searched for “brutalist jewelry.” It’s by a shop called Imnium. I love the detailed coiling, and that’s what makes it look steampunk. More brutalism to come.


“We go through life, we shed our skins, we become ourselves.”

—Patti Smith


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