Redcar Steel works
Redcar Steel Works – an early inspiration for author and graphic designer Peter Chadwick Photography: Ralph Gant

‘My fascination with concrete, industrial landscapes, and what I later came to know as “Brutalism” started at an early age,’ says Peter Chadwick, author of new architectural tome, This Brutal World.

Growing up in Middlesbrough in the 1970s, Chadwick – who is principal of London-based graphic design studio Popular – found his aesthetic shaped by the geometric forms and unapologetic concrete masses that dotted the landscape of his youth.

‘These chemical and steel plants not only dominated the horizon beyond the town centre, they also supplied an industrial soundtrack of relentless clattering metal. It’d be fair to say that the collision of this industrial landscape and sheet-metal audio has shaped and formed my taste in both architecture and music.’

Hemerascoppium-House,- Madrid-(c)-Ensamble-Studio
Hemeroscopium House. Photography: Ensamble Studio

He explains: ‘I saw direct parallels between these concrete surface patterns and the record sleeves I loved, as well as in the grid systems created by Josef Müller-Brockmann and Wim Crouwel, graphic designers [I had been] introduced to at college.’

Chadwick has created artwork for music artists including Fatboy Slim, Primal Scream and Groove Armada. His work often draws subtly on the geometric planes and proportions of Brutalist structures. In 2014, he took his obsession with Brutalism even further when he set up a Twitter account dedicated to his favourite concrete juggernauts titled ‘This Brutal House’.

Named after the 1986 Nitro DeLuxe track, This Brutal House quickly amassed a cult following by bringing Chadwick’s interests in music, architecture and graphic design together. Now he’s gone analogue with the release of the book.

Chadwick whips us through 8 of his favourite ‘lesser known’ concrete stars and shares a soundtrack to accompany them.

‘This Brutal World’ is out now via Phaidon, and you can follow @BrutalHouse on Twitter and Instagram

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