The pow­er­house Forty years af­ter found­ing the An­drew Martin brand, Martin Waller still drives in­no­va­tion

Forty years af­ter its launch, this Bri­tish brand still cham­pi­ons in­no­va­tion. Here, co-founder Martin Waller dis­cusses his global in­flu­ences and the im­por­tance of stay­ing young at heart

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - News -

In 1976, in­spired by the ‘mag­i­cal scene set­ting’ at Bar­bara Hu­lan­icki’s Biba depart­ment store on Lon­don’s Kens­ing­ton High Street, Martin Waller (right) co-founded An­drew Martin with his for­mer busi­ness part­ner An­drew Gille­spie ( hence the brand’s name). Since then, it has be­come Bri­tain’s one-stop shop for bril­liantly bonkers, unique de­sign. ‘I have very few rules,’ ex­plains Waller. ‘Our look has al­ways been about tak­ing ev­ery­thing from ev­ery­where and putting it all to­gether.’

The pops of colour, pat­terns and pati­nas syn­ony­mous with An­drew Martin’s wares – now sold in 63 coun­tries – owe ev­ery­thing to Waller’s love for travel and ‘cap­tur­ing the spirit of dif­fer­ent cul­tures from around the world’. In the brand’s Lon­don flag­ship store, he thinks noth­ing of mix­ing an­tiq­ui­ties, such as African masks, wooden model wind­mills picked up on his ad­ven­tures to coun­tries as far afield as Siberia and Gu­atemala, In­dian head­dresses and Mayan and Mex­i­can printed cush­ions. This art­ful cu­ra­tion of un­usual pieces means that the ex­pe­ri­ence of vis­it­ing an An­drew Martin store is akin to spend­ing time in a gallery – de­sign fans flock there to get lost in a vivid riot of colour and pat­tern, of­ten stum­bling across quirky finds, such as a ro­tat­ing bar­ber’s pole or a life-size resin cow.

To­day, Waller is con­stantly called on to source pieces for film sets – his port­fo­lio in­cludes the Harry Pot­ter and James Bond movies – and to work on projects as di­verse as pri­vate homes in Mumbai and ho­tels in Mar­bella and Latvia. His pas­sion for de­sign also led to the es­tab­lish­ment of An­drew Martin’s an­nual In­ter­na­tional De­signer of the Year award in 1996. ‘I felt that in­te­rior de­sign wasn’t be­ing given its due,’ says Waller. Now, the award is the de­sign world’s hottest ticket, pro­pel­ling the ca­reers of its past re­cip­i­ents – in­clud­ing Tara Bern­erd, Axel Ver­vo­ordt and Rose Uni­acke – into the strato­sphere.

Waller’s play­ful, ir­rev­er­ent charm is an im­por­tant driv­ing force be­hind the brand. ‘Cre­atively, I never re­ally grew be­yond the age of 12,’ he laughs. ‘If I liked some­thing when I was that age, I still like it now.’ He’s a firm be­liever that de­sign is about hav­ing fun. ‘Dec­o­ra­tion is an im­por­tant build­ing block of hap­pi­ness – I hope what we do helps to make peo­ple feel happy and com­fort­able in their homes, and there­fore in them­selves,’ he en­thuses. ‘It’s about en­joy­ing the beauty in the things we love.’ an­drew­martin.co.uk

‘CRE­ATIVELY, I NEVER RE­ALLY GREW BE­YOND THE AGE OF 12 – IF I LIKED SOME­THING THEN, I LIKE IT NOW’

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