Select Interiors / Architectural Services  / Truth to materials & the Craft of Design & Fit Out
Truth to materials & the Craft of Design & Fit Out

Truth to materials & the Craft of Design & Fit Out

Truth to materials is an architectural theory based on the idea that materials should be used where they are most appropriate, and without their innate ‘natural’ qualities being concealed. To realise the beauty of materials in their raw state

Examples of this theory in practice include:

  • Exposed concreteleft unpainted, with shuttering marks un-sanded.
  • Timber’s natural grain left unpolished, paintedor stained.
  • Copper’s natural patina left untouched.
  • Steelworkleft exposed
  • Raw masonry walls exposed
  • Exposed galvanised lighting containment and track

As a theory, it is most closely associated with modernist architecture & design and in particular associated with the Bauhaus movement. Whose basic tenant was that materials should be used in their most ‘honest’ form, without changing their nature

In practice, truth to materials requires sensitivity on the part of the designer and the craftsman who works with the material. Both parties should be aware of how materials can be drilled, sawn, shaped, etc., without damaging them or rendering them unsafe or unstable. The art is the balance between imaginative vision and creativity of the designer and the most appropriate use of the materials.

To realise the vision the craftsmen and builders must manufacture, install and build carpentry, masonry and other elements within a scheme. We at Select Interiors Manchester have our own workshop facility for bespoke joinery, and our own craftsmen build and install on site. We are a small company that runs a ‘tight ship’, our small but perfectly formed joinery workshop, showroom and offices enable us to be both competitive and to offer a truly bespoke fit out service for Architects, Developers, Offices, Retail, Leisure, Bars and Restaurants

See example above of bespoke joinery produced in our workshop using the principles of ‘truth to materials.’ The Birch ply, exposed edges, manufactured using economical laminated plywood. Select Interiors craftsmen realised the vision of designers Adrian Taylor & Chris Britton, Note the secret door leading to a ‘quiet room all beautifully executed by our own site carpenters for Rapport in the Northern Quarter, Manchester

‘’Every decently-made object, from a house to a lamp post to a bridge, spoon or egg cup, is not just a piece of ‘stuff’ but a physical embodiment of human energy, testimony to the magical ability of our species to take raw materials and turn them into things of use, value and beauty.’’

Kevin McCloud

Close up detail of bespoke joinery, Birch faced ply fitted bookcases, concealed door and storage

See above another example truth of materials and craftsmanship. The team built a Green Oak structural frame for serial Restauranteur and bon viveur Steve Pilling and The Northern Restaurant Group. The Oak sections were selected from logs by Select Interiors Manging Director Carl, the structural material was machined to our specification with a slight chatter finish. The handrail, newel posts and spindles were machined to a finer degree and hand finished on site. The frame was cut, assembled and fashioned on site by Select craftsmen. The Green Oak was left untreated to age to acquire a beautiful patina, raw, honest and crafted with love & care

Select Interiors craftmen creating bespoke on site raw timber bar counters from off the shelf cabinets, using reclaimed timber and partially sanding to create a pre-used but clean scandi look for eight pop up resturant operators and Allied London Estates. Select Interiors craftsmen creating a Scandi influenced Restaurant scheme for Allied London Estates using raw plywood for tops laminated on site with hygienic panels. An economical, creative use of raw materials an example of truth of materials in practice

See pellet detail above, staggered boards were bonded onto off the shelf units, then drilled and pellet glued and shaved by chisel leaving the end of the plugs proud to give a craft look & feel

See above the finished product, raw partly sanded, concrete floor, ply edges exposed on high table worktops. The raw, honest and scandi / truth of materials design was a collaboration between Su Wilkinson, Allied London and Select Interiors Ltd.

See example above of a Coffee Shop design and fit out using a bundle of vintage painted boards delivered to site in a bundle. Still using the same principal and design process, although the boards were painted, they had acquired the patina of age, variable fading, scratches and other imperfections added to the simple beauty of the materials. We married the material with cast concrete worktops, shuttering plywood shelving, OSB board ceilings and polished concrete flooring. All crafted on site by the Select Interiors team.

See examples of recent fit outs by the Select Interiors team for the following companies

Design & Fit out for Digital Media companies Building Blocks and DEPT

Bespoke Green Oak 80m2 Pergola for Steve Pilling at The Moor Top Bar & Kitchen. Designer Adrian Taylor Design

Internal fit out of The Dog & Partridge, Didsbury Village. Design by Adrian Taylor Design for exciting new Pub & Restaurant group Pilling & Pride

All the aesthetic potential of original materials that had been covered with plywood and vinyl tiles were revealed and refurbished by Select Interiors on this extensive project for Kate Yates Design & Biz Space in Altrincham. See how beautiful the Pitch Pine herringbone woodblock has really made the scheme sing, truth of materials.

Bespoke informal meeting areas with high and low bench seating, cork boards and magnetic White boards for Biz Spaces Newcastle upon Tynne.

Although it originated in the Industrial Revolution, as a consequence of technological development, when it became increasingly possible, but perhaps not desirable, to adapt materials for aesthetic purposes. In the early-20th century, the Bauhaus movement taught ‘truth to materials’ as a core principle, and held This was seen to be in conflict with the large range of synthetic materials that were being developed at the time which, due to their inexpensiveness and advantageous properties, were increasingly selected as a substitute for natural materials.

 Latest news Select Interiors have just been awarded two prestigious projects totalling 500,000.00 A high profile project in Leeds for QA Consulting and Synergy Architects, also an exciting new project on The Bonded Warehouse for London based Architects Levitt Bernstein, plus the design of OKitchen Korean Restaurant & Bar in Didsbury

Select Interiors have just completed refurbishment of Communal Areas in Royal Mills in Ancoats for the rapidly expanding Cert Properties and a show space for Manchester’s coolest developers Capital & Centric at their exciting Crusader Mills development (see images below)

Please click the link for further images of Select Interiors projects

We at Select Interiors judge the success of the buildings and places we design by the way people use and enjoy them – the clients who commission them, the people who inhabit them. Good design is about helping clients meet their needs and objectives. It is also about the way people feel when they experience it, a sense of meaning, connection and belonging

We hope that the above blog will give you the reader a snapshot of what we are up to, what we have recently completed and an idea of our processes and ethos. We are always striving to improve our service through investment in training, technology and of course staff.

Why not give us the opportunity of being of service ring Martha, Carl, Umair or Tracy on 0161 445 4040

The team at Select Interiors would like to thank all the clients above for their valued enquiries and business


Signed the Select Team