Andrew Martin International is a renowned name in the world of interior design. The go-to place for individual interiors, the brand draws inspiration from a combination of cultures and eras with an aim to bring multi-layered, multicultural, easy living style to everybody who likes it. Talking to The LuxPad, Martin Waller, Co-Founder and Company Director, shares his most treasured possession picked up during his travels and explains why interior design hasn’t changed since the ‘70s…
How would you describe the Andrew Martin brand?
Layered, relaxed, comfortable, built around art and artefacts from every corner of the world and every age of human achievement. Through a rich mix of elements, we reflect a global assortment of influences, often looking to bottle the essence of a place and its people.
How has interior design changed since you co-founded Andrew Martin in 1978?
The interesting thing is that some things haven’t changed at all. Men still want to look like Cary Grant and girls want to look like Audrey Hepburn. These are figures from the 1950s. This is 70 years ago. If you go 70 years back before then people dressed completely differently. But James Dean, jeans, t-shirts that’s the look people still wear today. Back in the 1970s, we all thought by now we would be wearing white jumpsuits and our food would come in pills. There was this TV programme: Tomorrow’s World. None of it happened, none of it happened. Even cars, what has happened to car design? Similarly, interior design trends are cyclical and I think we are going to see a return to the colour trends of the 1970s.
As an avid collector of historic memorabilia, can you tell us about your most treasured item in your collection? What is the story behind it?
My collection of Egyptian antiques. They sit mainly in my living room and consist of funeral masks and figures. It serves as a reminder of our mortality.
How would you describe your own interior style?
Multi-layered, multicultural, multi-faceted and masculine.
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
The living room is my favorite because it is the room that most closely tells the story of my life.
What has been your favorite decade for interior design?
The ’80s were wonderful. A pinch of chintz goes a country mile.
2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year awards, of all the winners from the past 19 years, who stood out to you the most?
That’s a bit like asking Fred Astaire who his favourite dance partner was! But secretly, if I really had to choose, it would be South African designer, Stephen Falcke. He was the first person to reinvent the way African tribal art could be part of sophisticated furnishing. For someone who was born in Africa, it is of particular inspiration and resonance.
Throughout your extensive travels and your many adventures across the globe, which has been the most unforgettable?
Hunting aisles in Tesco. Actually it is hunting for Mammoth in Siberia.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
There is no such thing as taste, just perspective. People can be scathing about others’ taste but really it is all subjective.
Can you tell us your top three interior design tips?
Paint is the simplest way to transform a room, it’s simple, just not easy. Never make the mistake of thinking your home is finished, it evolves as life unfolds. Finally, my design philosophy is to focus on walls, lighting and objects. These will have the biggest impact on a room and the rest will fall into place.