Punk It Out – Whatever’s You, Man!
Our last deep dive into Form Follows Fashion led us into a discovery of cyberpunk styles that thrust us simultaneously into a visionary future while schooling us on a backstreet corner of history. But cyber’s just the tip of it.
From grunge to goth, punk styles differ in execution, yet find their foundation in genuine and earnest vibes. These styles lend themselves to comfortable and practical designs that create livable spaces while catching your eye. Reminiscent of your angsty punk days, we’ve found inspiration from the music that made us who we were.
A return to the classic punk style of the 1970’s and 80’s. The signature black leather jackets of The Ramones bleeds into interiors in the form of studded black leather furniture. Whether patent or matte leather, sofas and chairs carry the aesthetic of 70’s/80’s punk. These pieces set the tone for remaining decor and visuals.
Beyond the obvious black leather, classic punk gives us the organized chaos of ransom cutout text (Sex Pistols, anyone?) that can be morphed into collage walls and eclectic decor. Union Jack flags accompany the incongruent collage walls while the underlying rebellion creates movement that guides the eye around the maximalism.
Next up, grunge. Think Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Grunge needn’t be dirty. In contrast, the grunge style simply offers the opportunity of a relaxed space that gets rid of stuffy perfection. Visible damage of architecture or furniture can be honored in such a found-piece eclectic space.
This style is ideal for repurposing and recycling, giving new life to your favorite decor pieces. Knits and plaids mimic the subtle rebellion against fancy traditions and school uniforms. Patterns like these can act as a focal point or a bold base.
However, a solid shade of black sets the scene of goth punk. Like The Cure, goth is embodied by contrast: contrast of styles, contrast of colors, contrast of modern and antique. The high contrast of bright art against black wall covering creates movement in the space above while giving the eye—and the soul—a reprieve from the darkness.
In a celebration of antiquated styles, goth punk revels in the ornamental details, though they may seem pretentious. Embellished walls and ornate frames act as dramatic adornments à la Joy Division. Interiors dripping in the goth punk aesthetic continually provide something new, something that has previously gone unnoticed.
Inspired by the immaculate guitar of Van Halen, trash polka punk is both wild and calculated. This precise style utilizes a very limited color palette: black, white, and red. Though the palette is limited, the design options are endless. Red can often be used as a color accent. However, as seen in several images here, taking advantage of the bold hue brings excitement to the space. The eye-catching color trio can be easily incorporated in a variety of spaces, acting as a simple way to tie the room together.
Additionally, trash polka punk involves a collage of patterns. From halftone patterns to specific splatters, the medley of energetic lines adds to the noticeable magnetism of the space. In many ways similar to the art of Felice Varini, the use of stripes and polka-dots surprise visitors while engaging inhabitants in iconoclastic consistency.
Punk epochs often look to the past for influence, as there is some form of punk in every age. Steam punk style bucks that trend to turn towards the dawn of industrialization. The artistic use of machinery parts (like the gears and clocks above) provides endless detail to showcase the little pieces that make up the whole.
When punk and new wave styles collided, we saw the emergence of neon punk and pop punk. Still breaking convention, this chapter in the evolution of punk is decidedly more cheery, flashy, and self-consciously cool. This style takes the maximalism of classic and goth punk, saturating it with bright colors and eclectic pieces.
Moreover, punk has proved that convention and popular protocols of expression don’t have to dictate the path for every creative venture. Indie punk has generated a platform for new, creative, independent artists to express their unique voices. It has proven that there is always an audience for a wide range of preferences. Take a cue from this musical and cultural history: your space does not have to express somebody else’s vision. You get to live life out loud at home.
From its musical roots in life-crisis yell-rock, post punk matured to a complex, instrumental, expressionistic exploration of the subtler and more nuanced emotions. Punk isn’t just about rage. Rather, punk can be any challenge to conventional forms of expression. To imagine a post punk interior is to pay homage to the rebels that have influenced us while transforming and constructing instead of destroying. What good is breaking everything and deconstructing yesterday’s norms if you can’t use them to build something new?
As the slam dunk in our interior punk, Kehinde Wiley’s painted basketballs (example below) embody the ornamentation that revamps the ordinary into something indisputably unique. While traditional athleticism, runway fashion, and punk rock may seem wildly separate, true development is made by challenging boundaries. The borders between music, culture, sport, and fashion are meant to be pushed. What can turn heads like a reinvention of the ubiquitous? The aesthetic intersection of design and sport could not be more punk.