Project Wales ~ Anthracite

Anthracite, as inspiration: on our quest to make Wales more identifiable in the Luxury design industry. Click this link to learn about the movement.

Mining in Wales provided a significant source of income to the economy of Wales throughout the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. It was key to the Industrial Revolution. In 1913, Barry had become the largest coal exporting port in the world!

However both economics and politics after World War I with its resultant general strike, the 1930s Depression and later Nationalisation and the miners’ strike of 1984-1985 took their toll and many pits were either abandoned or swallowed into Big Pit’s encroaching search for new seams. Finally in February 1980 the coal ran out and even Big Pit, then the oldest mine in Wales, had to close.

There have been attempts to revive the anthracite mining in South Wales, but I would like to revive it in a different way.

Anthracite has semi-metallic, lustrous properties and is a rock that is, in part close to graphite. It leaves a charcoal, black mark on paper and can be ground into a fine pewter-like powder. It can be carved, though tough and brittle, and has a faceted structure that catches light. To hold, it is surprising clean.

These characteristics and keywords lend themselves very well to design, whether that be interiors, fashion, accessories or architecture.

How beautiful would it be to see a Welsh blanket in black on black, using yarn sheen and quality to channel the Anthracite tones in the weave structure? Maybe using rayon or a lurex, or a melange. Even more luxurious would be silk or cashmere. It could be exquisite. It would have wow factor and fresh market appeal.

Using dark tones in the interior can make the space intimate and rich, especially when accented with gold, copper or brass. In gloss it can diffuse light whilst in mat it can look velvety and luxurious. Whether your space is small or large, in either case anthracite black will look enigmatic and magical.

Ceramics and crockery in black, is the opposite to clinical white, but looks finely crafted and exotic. An interesting note is that supermarkets present pre-packed food against black to enhance its colour and make it look more appealing. It is a pity that black plastic cannot be traditionally recycled.

Take a look at these images and be inspired by Anthracite.

Image Credits:

Black Interior 1 and 2: Panday Group.
Black lacquer cabinet with gold deco pattern: Rupert Bevan.
Black Bathroom:  La Maison Gaumont, Paris.
Soot covered mirror: Unknown.
Leathery black fire place: Kips Bay Decorator Show House, NY.
Black chinoiserie panel interior: Boca Do Lobo.
Crystalline building: Kinemax Theatre, France.
Faceted building: St Paul’s Car Park, Arundel Gate, Sheffield.
Painted black townhouse: New York.
Black, wallpapered corridor: Catherine Martin for Porters Paints
Black, textured plates: Katsumi Machimura
Assorted black crockery: Unknown
Black gold bowl on charger: Unknown
Menswear overcoat: Bally Men.
Androgynous leather coat: Lanvin.
Leather biker jacket: Unknown.
Embellished applique panel: Alexander McQueen.
Black crystal gown: Alexander McQueen.
Black Necklace 1 & 2: Santa Fe Dry Goods
Charcoal Book: Unknown.

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