When high-tech entrepreneur Matthew Hill designed his condo in Lansing, Mich., he wanted decor to reflect his personality and "pretty wild lifestyle."
California-based Motoart had what he was after. They buy up junked aircraft -- everything from WWII fighter planes to modern jet parts -- and transform them into furniture: desks, tables, even sofas. Hill opted for a coffee table devised from a section of a C-119 cargo plane.
"I wanted something with a real edge that spoke to the influence of ultra-lounge atmosphere, as well as pure modernism," says Hill, who founded a company called Liquid Web.
Interior designers are making liberal use of vintage components. While many pieces are sleek, almost aerodynamic, others emphasize the drama of scale -- think gigantic kleig-like floor fixtures, factory work tables or Hill's coffee table.
Industrial-style furnishings aren't new. Marcel Breuer and other Modernists in the early 20th century embraced the idea that man and machine could coexist. Mass production techniques and new materials excited these designers, who sought innovative ways to adapt them for the home. It was a marriage of purpose and aesthetics.
The retro trend is advancing throughout the home furnishings marketplace. A wave of commercial-grade trash bins, bread boxes, toasters and other kitchen accouterments has come ashore, at pricepoints high and low.