Styling with retro industrial pieces

Retro industrial filter flaskStyling with retro industrial pieces

This is one of my latest obsessions- repurposing old industrial chemical apparatus. I found this fantastically large filter flask and have been using it as a vase. Here it’s shown in front of a window- I love how the light works with the transparent glass and water. And I particularly like the contrast between the soft, round Eucalypt leaves and the cold hard functional shape of the flask.

I’ve seen bunsen burner and other scientific apparatus- reminiscent of school science experiments- repurposed for all sorts of things- lights, bookends, funky sculptures… the purely functional nature of the elements seem to lend themselves to imaginative repurposing.  I’m on the lookout for more!

Styling with 60s retro

'Impact' coffee setStyling with retro
‘Impact’ coffee set by British Anchor, Staffordshire England, made 1960-1969
modern reproduction red glass vase and kale

Mixing retro objects with contemporary objects is easy- as long as it is done simply. The red glass vase holds kale, an ornamental cabbage. It’s a strong, architectural flower that compliments the modernist lines of the coffee set. Both the coffee pot and the kale have an elongated, exaggerated verticality. And they are green- the complimentary opposite of red.

I don’t buy reproduction pieces, but this lovely red glass vase was given to me as a gift. I use it a great deal. I love that it is unpretentious, and plays homage to 60s glassware. It’s robust and honest – a simplified version of the real thing. But wow! does it pack a punch with architectural flowers.

Styling with retro vases

Pates Pottery vase

This fantastic vase was made by Pates Pottery, which operated out of Belmore, Sydney from 1946 -1990. As you may have noticed, given the tenor of the posts of this blog, being a Sydneyite I have an affinity for the potteries that were producing domestic ware in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Pates’ designs and colours were influenced by the 1950s furnishing and domestic colour trends; and like Diana pottery [examples of which are in a couple of posts below] also produced work with an ‘Australiana’ colour glaze- brown and green – apparently reminiscent of the Australian bush. This nationalistic colour combination was very popular, and since I am a landscape architect, and quite fond of the Australian bush, I have tended to collect both Diana and Pates pieces in this colour range.

This quite deco-shaped vase has a removable ‘frog’ in the same glaze. The frog is shaped with holes to support flower stems at the angle required…in this image I have attempted some free-form Ikebana, with Banksia flowers. That’s the great thing about retro vases- they lend a certain gravitas to one’s attempt at flower arranging!