It’s no accident that these places look similar. Though they’re not part of a chain and don’t have their interior design directed by a single corporate overlord, these coffee shops have a way of mimicking the same tired style, a hipster reduction obsessed with a superficial sense of history and the remnants of industrial machinery that once occupied the neighbourhoods they take over. And it’s not just London and Manchester – this style is spreading across the world, from Bangkok to Beijing, Seoul to San Francisco.
If you’re looking for inspiration for the “old industrial” look (and some inspiration is in order) come visit vulcanhammer.info, which is my site for the family business which we (mostly) owned from 1852 to 1996. I’ve in the process of updating the site, or maybe backdating it: adding drawings from the 1880’s and 1890’s to match the photos from those eras and beyond. The best part for this is the part which documents our years in Chicago, from 1852 to 1960.
What’s on the site only scratches the surface; if you’re interested in discussing some other things, contact me.