Get used to your pricey dinner being served on a scarred farmhouse table by a whippersnapper in a dirty thermal. Rough Luxe is a design aesthetic that has permeated everything from food to fashion to architecture. It places importance on good storytelling and a restrained combination of raw elements. Its success is in its ability to heighten the relationships and sensorial experiences we have with objects, environments, or brands by emphasizing the original, unique or authentic elements. Elements are often repurposed while holding true to their raw character and mixed thoughtfully with unobtrusive technology. The overall experience is luxurious, as the quality and simplicity of ingredients remains thoughtful, whether it be a walnut slab or iPad checkout system.
“But collecting these old things, it’s like there is an aura attached to them. It’s not some prepackaged product being foisted on you by a big corporation” (New York Times).
“The worn, vintage and unfinished look of ‘rough luxe’ is more than just the masculine side of shabby chic. It creates the kind of authenticity that is unscripted history in physical form. It reinvents the past by redefining luxury today. Here design rejects minimalism and extravagance and celebrates imperfection. It is the embodiment of real at a time when the unexpected and the surprising is valued higher than pristine and probable” (Amazon.com).
“It’s artful dissonance. For those who have come to think of luxury as smooth, shiny, polished, refined and expensive, rough luxe will undoubtedly come off as unfinished, unplanned and somewhat chaotic” (WSJ Magazine).
“Gjelina is one of the coolest, hippest restaurants in LA. The decor is vintage industrial chic with rustic wood tables and exposed “Edison Bulbs” dangling from weathered metal bars” (Consuming LA).
How can we imbue our products with a meaningful history and help their stories be told and felt?