Meet Martin, the magic maker

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Interiors -

The de­signer who helps peo­ple ‘es­cape the drudgery of life’ tells Har­riet Den­nys how to turn up the the­atre

Martin Brud­nizki is the man be­hind the the­atri­cal glam­our of Scott’s, Le Caprice and The Ivy: the Lon­don restau­rants where celebri­ties go to be­come part of the show. The Swedish in­te­rior de­signer says his job de­sign­ing up­scale es­tab­lish­ments is about “cre­at­ing a sense of place, an ex­pe­ri­ence” to help peo­ple “es­cape the drudgery of life”.

At Sexy Fish, the May­fair res­tau­rant owned by his long­stand­ing client Richard Car­ing, Brud­nizki in­stalled a glit­ter­ing Frank Gehry crocodile, bronze mer­maids sculpted by Damien Hirst, a gold ceil­ing mu­ral by Michael Roberts and an onyx floor shipped from Iran. “Once you are through those doors, you are trans­ported,” he says.

He is cur­rently work­ing on the £55mil­lion trans­for­ma­tion of Car­ing’s May­fair night­club, Annabel’s. True to opulent form, Brud­nizki and the team at his west Lon­don in­te­ri­ors prac­tice, Martin Brud­nizki De­sign Stu­dio, are cre­at­ing a suite of rooms in the base­ment of the Berke­ley Square club, com­plete with pre­cious stone fire­place sur­rounds, mir­rored ceil­ings, an­i­mal heads and glass wall pan­els that glow. The club’s re­design takes the sense of the­atre found in all Brud­nizki’s in­te­ri­ors to a new level. He calls it “an ex­treme scheme”.

Brud­nizki de­vel­oped his de­sign aes­thetic as a child grow­ing up in Stock­holm, en­cour­aged by his mother, who trained as a re­tail mer­chan­diser and com­mer­cial in­te­rior de­signer. He re­calls vis­it­ing school friends’ houses and be­ing ap­palled by their “ghastly” late-Sev­en­ties decor, such as swirling or­ange and brown plas­tic wall­pa­per. “I saw such hor­ri­ble things I had to leave, be­cause it was giv­ing me headaches,” he says.

At the age of 12, Brud­nizki went through a min­i­mal­ist phase, and painted his bed­room com­pletely white, with white fur­ni­ture and a white car­pet. He soon got min­i­mal­ism “over and done with” and by work­ing for in­te­rior de­sign­ers Michael Wolf­son, David Gill and David Collins,

evolved his sig­na­ture style to “min­i­mal­ism deluxe”. To­day, the award-win­ning de­signer’s Lon­don apart­ment is filled to the rafters with fur­ni­ture and art, but the thrown­to­gether ef­fect is heav­ily cu­rated. His sit­ting room has 30 lamps, placed at four dif­fer­ent heights for op­ti­mum light­ing, and his Ikea kitchen units have been up­graded by adding mar­ble splash­backs and coun­ters. “I’m cre­at­ing a method in the madness through care­fully mix­ing pat­terns, plac­ing each piece of art, each ob­ject, to make it feel ran­domly col­lected over years,” he says. Brud­nizki en­cour­ages those hop­ing to re-cre­ate his ex­u­ber­ant in­te­ri­ors in their own homes to be bold with brightly

Re­flect­ing the op­u­lence: a new mir­rored room at Annabel’s, above, and sketches for the bars, be­low

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