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Podcast Ep 7: The Master of Fantasy with Martin Brudnizki

Is Martin Brudnizki the man who killed minimalism? LuxDeco explores.

Jon Sharpe By Jon SharpeChief Creative Officer

Is Martin Brudnizki the man who killed minimalism? It’s quite a claim, but one that becomes increasingly credible the further you delve into his portfolio and the success–not to mention legion of imitators–that his projects have garnered. The AD100, House & Garden 100 and LuxDeco 100 designer is currently one of the design world’s most prolific and admired figures thanks to his fantastical design schemes for celebrated venues such as Annabel’s, The Ivy, Harry’s Bar and The Surf Club, and for luxury hospitality brands such as Soho House and the Four Seasons.

Constantly surprising, richly decorated and completely immersive, Martin Brudnizki creates worlds—worlds that are wildly transportative, combining mythical creatures with paradise gardens and a bold reimagining of tradition.

I was delighted to sit down with Martin to talk about his instantly iconic designs, what he thinks of minimalism and whether he believes too much is actually never enough.

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"I love history. I've always been very fascinated by it and I read a lot of biographies, I read a lot about history. It's because I always believe, you know, to understand the future, you need to understand the past. One can't exist without the other."

 

DON’T MISS

  • What Martin thinks of minimalism at 04:52
  • How he created Annabel's fantastical designs at 08:42
  • What he absolutely could never do at 18:18
  • And all about his new county home at 25:50
Fortnum & Mason Hong Kong | Interior by Martin Brudnizki | Discover more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Martin Brudnizki

Links & Articles

Exclusive LuxDeco video interview with Martin

Tour Martin’s New York hotel project, The Beekman

LuxDeco 100

Martin's website

Martin's Instagram

Annabel’s Private Members Club & Nightclub

As featured in 9 London Private Members Clubs You Should Know), iconic London club Annabel’s has been completely transformed by Martin’s erudite vision. Step into the imaginatively refurbished private club.

Annabel's Private Members Club | Martin Brudnizki | Discover more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Martin Brudnizki

 

"We wanted to do something a little bit more sort of fantastical. So, yes, it should be residential, but it should be a house that was dressed for the best party of the season. So once you walk in, you will just go like, 'Wow, I'm going to have the best time here ever'.

 

Martin Brudnizki | Annabel's Private Members Club | Discover more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Martin Brudnizki

Annabel's Private Members Club | Jungle Bar | Martin Brudnizki | Discover more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Martin Brudnizki

 

"For me, it's quite important to understand all the different genres of design. I did minimalism, I've done maximalism, I've done classicism and I've done modernism so I've done all of these four cornerstones and I use all of them when I design now. I take a little bit from everything and I mix it together and I think that's the exciting part."

 

Annabel's Bathrooms | Pink Bathroom | Martin Brudnizki | Discover more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Martin Brudnizki

Martin’s London Home

Discover the art-filled, layered home where the designer spends his week.

Martin Brudnizki London Home | Discover more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Martin Brudnizki

 

"I think beauty generally sort of helps you get up in the morning. You know, it sort of helps you get through the day in my sort of view. It sort of makes you look forward to sitting down for dinner because, even though it can be done very simply, everything you have on the table is beautiful."

 

Martin Brudnizki | Designer Home | Discover more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Martin Brudnizki

Martin Brudnizki bedroom | Grey Bedroom | Discover more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Martin Brudnizki

Martin Brudnizki podcast | The Master of Fantasy | The Tastemakers | LuxDeco.com .mp3 transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

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Jon:
Hello and welcome to The Tastemakers: A LuxDeco Podcast. I'm Jon Sharpe, your host and Chief Creative Officer for LuxDeco—the world's leading luxury interiors platform, which is changing the way people design and shop for their homes. Part of our commitment at LuxDeco is to help people live beautifully. In The Tastemakers, we do that by exploring interior design and lifestyle through the stories of our influential guests. Guests who are celebrated for that fine taste in design and beyond. Subscribe and listen for inspiration straight from some of the world's most incredible style authorities.

Jon:
Is Martin Brudnizki the man who killed minimalism? It's quite a claim, but one that becomes increasingly credible the further you delve into his portfolio and the success—not to mention the legion of imitators—that his projects have garnered. The AD100, House and Garden 100 and LuxDeco 100 designer is currently one of the design world's most prolific and admired figures, thanks to his fantastical design schemes for celebrated venues such as Annabel's, The Ivy, Harry's Bar and the Surf Club, and for luxury hospitality brands such as Soho House and the Four Seasons. Constantly surprising, richly decorated and completely immersive, Martin Brudnizki creates worlds—worlds that are wildly transportative, combining mythical creatures with paradise gardens and a bold reimagining of tradition. I was delighted to sit down with Martin to talk about his instantly iconic designs, what he thinks of minimalism and whether he believes too much is actually never enough.

Jon:
Martin, welcome to the show. How are you?

Martin:
I'm very well, thank you and thank you for having me.

Jon:
Well, I'm so glad we've managed to make it work. You've— you've obviously had a very busy lockdown, it seems.

Martin:
Oh, yes, very busy. And as soon as I could travel, I was off, funnily enough.

Jon:
And you've not just been busy of late. You've clearly had a very busy and successful few years. You've just debuted in the US AD 100 so big congratulations for that. And you have— you have projects around the world and obviously you completed the already iconic Annabel's refit in 2018, which everyone seems to still be trying to get their heads around two years later. So a lot to catch up on.

Martin:
Exactly.

Jon:
As I mentioned in the introduction, you're renowned for your richly decorative, elaborately garnished and some might claim over-the-top fantastical spaces. In fact, you seem to have been the go to designer for pretty much any hot new restaurant or hotel anywhere in the world of late. So given that, some might find it quite hard to believe that you hail from Sweden, a part of the world which is known, at least in a design sense, for the absolute opposite, with its blonde words and influential Mid-century furniture and a much more laid back vibe. Did you ever subscribe to the kind of classic Scandinavian style and how did the evolution of your style progress from when you were a boy?

Martin:
Well, I sort of started off sort of being, what would you call it? Like a minimalist, even though growing— Because, you know, growing up in Sweden in the sort of 60s and 70s, you know, design was simple. But, my mother, she's German, so she sort of brought a sort of sense of playfulness and fun and she would mix sort of patterns and colors, even though the spaces were sort of white. But there was textures everywhere. There were textured, wallpapers in white, and there were interesting rugs and there was a lot about texture. And so that's— I sort of grew up with it. I grew up with a sort of sense of elegance, a sense of that you consider your space and you think down to the knife and fork you eat that's sort of all— all important in in how you live. So that's sort of how I grew up, but it's quite interesting you sort of say that's Scandinavians are sort of considered as being quite sort of pared back and minimalist, but it's not really true if you really look back sort of pre-war when there sort of were classical— There was this movement called Swedish Grace, which was quite beautiful and very colourful and had an enormous amount of detail to it. But then, of course, post-war, we were sort of getting into a different sort of era of design and on how things were manufactured and made in factories.

Jon:
So you obviously did by the sound of it have a brief minimalist stage at some point. You got out of your system pretty early. What was it about minimalism that that turned you off in the end?

Martin:
I'm not turned off by it. Not even yet. Sort of, because for me, it's sort of quite important to understand all the different genres of design. Sometimes I've said this quite a few times. So I did minimalism. So I've done maximalism, I've done classicism and I've done modernism now so I've sort of done all of these four cornerstones and I sort of use all of them when I design now. I take a little bit from everything and I sort of mix it together and I think that's sort of the exciting part. That I had this opportunity to test everything out, and rightly so. Annabel's was this way to just throw myself headlong— headlong into it, because I sort of, before I started, a little bit sort of looking at how we used to layer things up. But that gave me this sort of chance of a— I sort of called it a crash course in really how to do it. So I sort of like— What you call that? I have sort of mastered that now so— And now it's sort of very interesting when when I sort of approach projects, how I sort of look at it slightly differently. So it's exciting how you can actually mix them and I sort of do it— I've done it on a few new products that haven't been built yet, but I'm very excited to see them because they're quite interesting, because they have bits of everything in it.

Jon:
So when people refer to you as a— as a maximalist, given that the truth is, as it normally is, slightly more complicated than that, does that kind of bother you? Do you sort of pull back from that or are you happy to identify with that title?

Martin:
I don't really— I don't really listen that closely. If people want call me maximalist, well, they can if they need to pigeonhole me, that's sort of fine. I think that's just how human nature is. We need to be labelled so people can feel secure. I mean, I— I don't mind, let's just put it that way.

Jon:
Right. And back at the turn of the millennium, hospitality spaces were somewhat kind of dominated by the white cube and you were recently quoted in GQ as saying, "My idea was about detailing the cube. How can we add details back into the spaces? That has been the journey over the last 20 years."

Martin:
That— that's so correct, because I remember it so well and I'd been working design for a couple of years, that sort of thing. What would my thing be here? When would I like to do it? Because it was at that time— Everything was very simple and it was about shadow gaps and recessed skirtings and yada, yada, yada. And I was sort of like thinking "what would I like to do?" You know, like— The way I sort— You sort of said the cube, because it's like, when you sort of draw perspective drawing you base it on a cube. If you can master how a cube looks at different points. And then I thought what I want to do with this simple diagram and I said I want to give a detail and sort of— And that's been my journey ever since, funnily enough.

Jon:
So why do you think that detail is so important in a bar or a restaurant or a nightclub?

Martin:
Because it's all the small details that make the whole. And I think that's the most important thing because you don't have a whole idea without the details that sort of support it. And— and I've always been super keen and still are— Like, how does everything come together? How does it fit? How is it built? I think that for me is sort of the beginning and sort of the end of everything. You know, we even— When I sort of think about a concept in the back of my head, I sort of think through already, "How does it actually work in reality?" Even though one shouldn't do that so early on, but I just can't help myself.

Jon:
And your designs aren't obviously simply detailed and decorative though. That description seems somewhat inadequate, I suppose, for the— for the very immersive, kind of fantastical worlds that you create. And for example, I suppose, as you mentioned, in the case of Annabel's, the world is is a menagerie of unicorns, elephants, gorillas, alligators... It's covered in an abundance of flowers. It's clad with with wall murals depicting everything from tropical rainforest to— to an Indian caravan of elephants. Can you tell us a little bit about how the creation of that world came about?

Martin:
Well, you're going to be shocked now what I'm going to— what I'm going to tell you now, it's actually quite simple, because if you would remove all of those patterns and the colours. You just remove them so you basically have like a line drawing, it's actually very simple. The interior architectural detail of it is actually— There are a lot of details, but it's a very simple thought to it and that's how I always approach it. So I sort of look at a space like a cube and then how I then add architectural details to that cube, and it's quite a simple diagram. And then once they're done, then I dress that and then I use materials, patterns, fabrics, mirror, and I sort of— Well, I stick it on basically. And that's sort of what creates sort of these layers, which is sort of so important. So that you have the walls as one layer and then what you're putting in front of it is furniture and then you have the art and then you have the vase and the flowers and the lamp and the lampshade and sort of all of these things that creates this sort of like idea of what I call fullness. But you use another word that I quite like—this is sort of when you sort of said that it's the fantastical. And, by the way, as a sort of— as a side thing, you know, something I would like people to call me— that I do these sort of fantastical designs because that's what it is—it's all about fantasy, it's all about imagination. And I think that is what I what I do. I sort of create these experiences and they're all about fantasies. It's my fantasy of what something— You could last— Even if I do an Italian restaurant, it's my fantasy of what that Italian restaurant is about. It might have no real basis in reality, but it's— it's an emotion from perhaps going to Italy on holiday.

Jon:
And what have you made of the response to that particular fantasy?

Martin:
I mean, people seem to enjoy it, and that's what it is supposed to be for. I created— Because when I approached this project—Annabel's—and I— You know, we were going to do this sort of private members club and there are quite a few of them in London and they're all based around the sort of residential approach. It was almost like you're invited— It is supposed to be— A club is supposed to be your second home and because of that people take the residential approach. And there's a lot of them. There's Soho House, there's Hertford Street, there's Art Club, etc, etc. So I felt I did not just want to do that. And as well, the client—Richard Caring—the client— We'd sort of discussed that we wanted to do something a little bit more sort of fantastical. So I decided I want to do—yes, it should be residential, but it should be a house that was dressed for the best party of the season so that once you walk in, you will go like, in your head, you will just go like, "Wow, I'm going to have the best time ever".

Jon:
The best house party I've ever been to.

Martin:
Exactly. But you want to walk in here and go, "Oh, my God, I'm going to have so much fun tonight". That's the way we feel when you enter into this space. And that, for me, was very important.

Jon:
And it also seems to have had some success as pretty much the most incredible Instagram backdrop that anyone has ever created. I'm assuming that that was just a sort of fortuitous bonus or— or was that in Richard Caring's design brief?

Martin:
Oh, no, it wasn't in his brief. But we— I always actually for many, many years— I always— When I designed, sort of thought about the vistas in the views which very easily converts to, like, how do you photograph this space? So that's always— it's always there somewhere in my head when I sort of do it. Like sort of—

Jon:
Right. So like stage sets for a night out?

Martin:
Exactly. That's a good way of putting it.

Jon:
I've also heard that they're actually now cracking down on photography in many areas of the club. Is that— is that— is that true or is that just to get people to visit more?

Martin:
Yeah, I think so. But as well— I mean a private club should not. You should not— I was always very surprised that they allowed it, but I guess they allowed it because people were just so enthralled by it. And, you know, Instagram is just such a big thing—that's why. But I think they have— After the— you know, when they were allowed to open again, they sort of decided now enough is enough. Now it's about making it really this sort of private club that it's supposed to be.

Jon:
So speaking of iconic projects, when you're beginning a new project, do you tend to design with an awareness now that your interiors have a habit of becoming instant icons almost overnight?

Martin:
Oh, no, no, no, no, no. I had— I design with an awareness of what the client is trying to achieve. That's sort of the most important thing. And what I'm very aware of is what I have done before so that we don't do the same thing on two projects in the same city. Or even that is remotely similar. That's sort of approach at the moment. At the moment, we're doing two hotels in Paris and it's like going to— like painful sort of reviews into making sure that these two hotels look completely— their approach to one is more modern; the approach to the other is much more sort of classical residential. We're really making sure that they are very different. They're all— Both sort of a little bit about fantasy, but there are very sort of different approaches.

Jon:
You have to go through and ensure there are no common denominators whatsoever.

Martin:
Exactly. They're not even— I mean, even in this case with colour, because even if they were like a green cushion in both, people would say, "Oh, same design". We've been very, very careful.

Jon:
Of course, and does that does that create any pressure? I mean, do you feel any pressure to create something even more special, even more surprising with each new project?

Martin:
It's a slight pressure there, but I think it's sort of quite important. I think the more you do, the more you actually have to reinvent yourself every single time. But I think, as I said, I have these four pillars now so it's all about how you dial one up and dial one down basically—I think that's sort of what it is. And being aware about it in the beginning, I think that's right. Like, so does, you know— I mean, sometimes you don't really know. I mean, you start working on one project, then you're given another project and, then when you do that, and if those two projects are in the same city—even though they're for two different groups of people— still, you have to sort of be very mindful.

Jon:
And do you find that the ideas ever get too fantastical or over-the-top, or do you think that your your mind and your style has become so playful and so creative that— that anything else would be boring for you?

Martin:
Yeah, I like to have fun when I design. I think I want to be— I think that— that's why doing Annabel's was just so much fun. It's like, how we're— We're having these internal reviews and who can come up with the most ridiculous idea. And we had so much fun doing it so... And it only— I mean we did the job from beginning to end in 18 months which is like no mean feat. But it's sort of— You know, we could do that because we had so much fun. But I mean, at the end of the day, Richard Caring, who is the owner, he was very much— He wanted something fantastical. He pushed me to do something that was interesting and over-the-top. So the project always comes back to the client at the end of the day. So it's very important for me as a designer to really understand what— what are they trying to do? What is that business that they're trying to do in this building. Is it a hotel? Is it the restaurant, you know? What is the food? You know, well, you know, what is the service level? And that— All of those things, plus like the building, the street, the neighbourhood and the city and the country will inform me to what it needs to be. That was sort of all that I put out— Then the story is very clearly that so, you know, that sort of— I like sort of restrictions in that sense because it will sort of restrict my own brain not to go into overdrive.

Jon:
And your inspiration seems many and varied. I mean, you mentioned the four pillars that you dial up and down and whether it's theme or period or style, it— it seems incredibly varied. So is it always about the kind of the client and the context, or are there other places that you pull your inspirations from for these spectacular spaces?

Martin:
It always starts with the client and the context. It's every single time. Without that actually we will— we will be lost. And it's sort of so needed. Then from that we will then sort of spin this story or this narrative that we sort of put together about what this project is about. And it's really about that emotion that we sort of put into words and then we sort of add imagery to that so we can explain to the client what our approach for the project would be. And then after we sort of design it. So it's a very, very clear thing. This narrative sort of has to be— We need to be able to stand at the end of the project saying this was the words we used. Is it what we intended? And it has to be, yes. It's very sort of important that we use these words to— to check ourselves all the way through the process as well.

Jon:
And you obviously draw quite a lot on history in your work. Yet whatever you do is is almost entirely reimagined. So how do you sort of use historical inspiration yet not be tempted simply just to copy it?

Martin:
Well, I mean I would— I would hate to do pastiche. That's just something I can't do. I mean I would never try to recreate the past. I mean, you need to— History, first of all, is something— I love history. I've always been very fascinated by it and I read a lot of biographies, I read a lot about history. It's because I always believe, you know, to understand the future, you need to understand the past. One can't exist without the other. So for me, that's obviously really everything. But then you need to completely reimagine it. So you need to sort of read about something, look into it and then you sort of recreate it for today. I mean, that— that's how you become successful. And that's how people today living in London could connect with a product that I do because they feel it's actually a part. And it's quite funny, every time I do something—a project—people sort of— Whether it's like modern or classical, they sort of say to me, "Oh, it feels like it's always been here". And that happened when I did Scott's and it happened when I did lots of other projects. And then it happened even when I did Sexy Fish which I thought it was so funny. They felt like it'd always been there.

Jon:
It felt like it'd always been there.

Martin:
Yeah, and I thought, "Mmm, interesting". And that's something people say to me all the time, and that's something that we do. Because this comes through the process that we put in, putting a product together, that we really want to anchor it in that neighbourhood, in that building, in that space. I think it's crucial so it doesn't feel like some sort of UFO that's landed from outer space and has nothing to do with anything.

Jon:
There's a kind of golden thread that goes through time with it.

Martin:
Exactly. I think it has to have these touch points as well so people can relate to and under— Even though they might not know the story that we tried to tell—they might not have read that history—but at least there's an emotional connection there.

Jon:
So are there any particular interiors or styles from the past that you would say have informed your style more than others?

Martin:
Well, I think it probably would be more than others. I mean, I think it's really that sort of 1920s, 30s, when everything sort of changed after the First World War, when, you know, the International Style was sort of started, as well as Art Deco and you had Art Nouveau and you had... What else did you have? You had, Been a vexed at. I mean you had all of these sort of different approaches to design—that's what I was very sort of fascinating always. I learned as I read a lot about it when I was studying. So that's something that sort of informed me how you went from this the classical approach to something sort of simpler in a way or a much more sort of nuanced point of view like this is what I want my style to be.

Jon:
Hmm. So even though your style has obviously roots in certain traditions, even if it's not executed in a— in a very traditional way, it's obviously become sought after the world over. But how do you take, say, an Annabel's or a Fortnum & Mason—such quintessentially British institutions which were designed, as you say, within that context—and make them work in completely different contexts like Las Vegas or Hong Kong or Miami?

Martin:
I mean, I think you take— What we do— I call it sort of components, so you sort of analyse, let's say, Fortnum & Mason, the store here in Piccadilly in London. So we— when we did Hong Kong, which was a much smaller store, we basically sort of analysed the London store and we took details from everything and the colours and then we reimagined that. So— And we did it in a slightly different way. So if you look at it, yes, it's very similar, but it's slightly more sort of playful and the details are slightly more involved. So just having a red carpet—the carpet is a mix of sort of a pile, cut and loop, etc. Everything has a little bit more of an interest to it that we try to sort of put into this, because I do think— I mean it's all depending on— I think retail is one of these sort of projects you can do where actually you can very much keep to the look and the idea from where it came from. So you could actually just take the store in London and they could just place in Hong Kong because you're going into that world. However, when you do a restaurant or you do a private club or you do a hotel, I think the idea of the city becomes much more important, especially when it comes to a hotel, for argument's sake, because, you know, you can have people travelling. Let's say, if you do a hotel in Hong Kong, people are travelling to Hong Kong so they're not coming there to stay in a hotel that feels like Los Angeles. They're coming there just to be part of Hong Kong. So I think it's very important that you then take the brand and you take the city. You need to somehow fuse those together. And that's all— that's all of the challenge and the way we have done that in the past is basically really through art—working with local artists.

Jon:
So speaking of international projects, you have Sexy Fish in Miami coming up. How's that project going? Can you tell us what we can expect from that?

Martin:
Well, to use sort of an American word, it's a souped up version of Sexy Fish in London.

Jon:
I didn't know that was possible.

Martin:
No, but it is. That space— The ceiling height in this space is like three times what we have in London. And so, if anything, it's actually even more fantastical. So it's following through along the same lines as Sexy Fish. The same idea, the same idea of style, of artists being involved, from Michael Roberts to Frank Gehry and, gosh, Damien Hirst. So they are all involved again, but in a much more fantastical way. And the colours of the upholstery is still the green and the pink, but more a Miami green and then Miami pink, so that is sort of the relationship to the city, but otherwise it's like pure and utter fantasy.

Jon:
And it's sometimes claimed that yacht designers also need to be sailors in order to do their job. Well, do you think the same is true of bars and restaurants and nightclubs? Are you yourself a party animal or a homebody?

Martin:
Oh, I'm a complete homebody. I'm not a party animal. I'm far too old. But once upon a time in my younger days, I did go out.

Jon:
You have form.

Martin:
But you see, I have— I have this fascination with— fascination with psychology. So I like to see how people sort of respond to a space. And that's what I find fascinating in when when we do design is it's like what can we do on the layout to influence people to do certain things? So that fascinates me.

Jon:
And what about dream projects? I imagine you've— you've probably ticked a few off the bucket list that perhaps, you know, 20 years ago you wouldn't necessarily have even expected. But does anything come to mind now that you're just dying to make over?

Martin:
Well, I mean, as you said I've been very fortunate and I've been involved in some amazing projects that, you know, at the beginning of my career I would never have thought would have happened. So I feel very, well, what they say on Instagram #blessed. But right now nothing comes to mind that that I would love to do because I'm sort of doing it at the moment and, you know, and having a great time doing it.

Jon:
Which I think they also say on Instagram is living the dream.

Martin:
I think so. But at least I'm doing the real thing. I'm not pretending.

Jon:
So, Martin, we've heard about your style and some of your projects. Now it's time to hear about your home life, which means we've arrived at the section of the show we call How I Live. So let's start with where is home for you?

Martin:
Well, home is in London mainly, but as well, I'm just actually about a month and a half to finishing a place in the country. So we're going to start splitting our time between basically London and West Sussex. So I think our country life, with time, is going to become much more important than our London life. Because where I am now in my life and at my age, I sort of feel like I want a different experience. And it's really about sort of, you know, getting my hands dirty, growing some vegetables and being able to step outside my door and just go on amazing walks and just, you know, enjoy that. I'm sort of quite desperate for it. More after what we've been going through over the last couple of months. But it's been a long, long, long time coming. And I— We we got this property last year and spent basically over a year refurbishing it.

Jon:
How would you describe the style that you're planning for that home?

Martin:
Oh, so what would— How would I explain it? It's basically my Arcadian fantasy of an English country life, and it's extremely colourful and it's very layered and it has some glamorous bits mixed with some rustic bits. And it's just— it's my fantasy of what this sort of life should be, for me.

Jon:
It was very prescient of you to have decided to buy a country house before a global pandemic. Nice that you're ahead of the game.

Martin:
Exactly. I mean we bought it in August last year, but it's just— it's just— it's a listed building. It's been a lot of applications. It's been— We've found like a lot of structural issues that had to be resolved and, you know, but now there's only a month and a half left. So paint colours are on the wall and all the furniture is in stores and this can't wait just to get in there.

Jon:
And what's been your most recent purchase for your home?

Martin:
My recent purchase? Well, actually it's something I bought this week and it's for our place in the country, and it's like two cupboards for the master bathroom. They're very nice.

Jon:
Which room do you anticipate spending most of your time in when you finally get through the door?

Martin:
Actually, we have the most glorious a drawing room. It's so vast—9 metres by 6 metres with an enormous fireplace. That's probably where we'll be spending most of our time, so— It's quite interesting because this building— Anthony Eden, who once was prime minister of the UK, he— during the Second World War, he lived here. He rented this house and this drawing room was his favourite room. So I hope it will be our favourite room too.

Jon:
I'm sure it will by the sound of it. And when you're spending time at home, what's your favourite way to relax?

Martin:
To read a book. That's something that's my— my— Especially right now—there's something just to escape— escape right into a different world. It's sort of quite enjoy that. Beyond that, I like cooking. You know, that's something we enjoy doing, especially— And that's something, during this pandemic, we've been sort of real experimenting with, like a lot of people have, with different foods, different ways of cooking and just like trying new things. And it's sort of like thinking about what vegetables we will grow and all of that.

Jon:
And now on to the section we call Who, What, Where and Why—some deeper questions, which we hope will reveal a little bit more about you. So first up, who is your style inspiration?

Martin:
Oh, my mother.

Jon:
I'm sure she'd be delighted to know that. Tell us why.

Martin:
My mother is an incredibly elegant woman. Not only was she incredibly— is she incredibly beautiful, but very elegant and and everything that I am able to do today and the approach I have to life is because of her and the way she sort of brought me up, brought both me and my brother up, basically, with how I want you to approach life. And that's all of her. So, you know, that's why she is my biggest inspiration.

Jon:
Right. And did she encourage you into a career in interior design? Because I understand that you began studying business before working as a model and then coming into interior design. So was that something that suddenly came upon you as a kind of epiphany or had it been something that had either been suggested and encouraged by her or others along the way?

Martin:
No, she never really encouraged us to do anything that she thought we should be doing. She wanted us to find our own way. That was sort of very important. She was always there if we wanted to talk about it, but she would never push us in a certain direction. Then like most sort of parents, then sort of, they think you should have a proper job and I was the only thing so when I was modelling, she was like, "It's not a proper job".

Jon:
You were like, that's the beauty of it!

Martin:
Exactly. So of course she was delighted when I then decided to study interior design because that was sort of what she did. She did— She started out as a fashion merchandiser in a fashion store in Stockholm and then she graduated and started doing a store design. So— But that didn't really sort of influence me in my choice. That came more because a very good friend of mine in Sweden, he went to London to study interior design. And when he got back after his first term and he sort of showed me what what he had done, I remember looking at things that I can do better than this. So I went there.

Jon:
I hope he's still a good friend of yours after that review.

Martin:
Hopefully he won't listen to this podcast.

Jon:
Let's hope not. So onto the what. What is the most defining characteristic of your style?

Martin:
Playfulness.

Jon:
And where were you the last time you were inspired with a great idea?

Martin:
Oh, there are so many every day that would take me forever to tell you.

Jon:
Why is living beautifully important to you?

Martin:
I think beauty generally sort of helps you get up in the morning. You know, it sort of helps you get through the day in my sort of view. It sort of— It sort of makes you as well look forward to sitting down for dinner because even though it can be done very simply but everything you have on the table is beautiful—beautiful napkin, placemat, cutlery, etc. etc., and glasses. It sort of makes— For me, I enjoy, like the food I'm going to eat much, much more because it's— you eat with your eyes at the same time as you eat with your mouth and your taste, etc. so I think all of that is sort of important to me.

Jon:
And last, but by no means least, A Question of Taste—our final round where we ask you ten questions about taste. At what age did you have the worst taste?

Martin:
Well, I never had bad taste, so sorry! I grew up in this incredibly stylish home. It's impossible to— It just would have been impossible.

Jon:
Your mother never would have allowed it?

Martin:
Would never allowed it. It's just— It's, you know, I was immersed in it from the day I was born.

Jon:
At what age will you have the best taste?

Martin:
Probably the day I decide to hang up my pens because then I've sort of done it all and I probably have full experience of everything because I do think every day you learn, you see new things and you sort of slightly change your your taste and your style. So I think it is going to be at that— at the end of the journey, basically.

Jon:
And do you seriously believe, Martin, that that day will ever come—that you hung up your pens?

Martin:
I hope so. Well, probably.

Jon:
Just more time in the drawing room with a book.

Martin:
Exactly. And it will probably never come. It will always— You know, we all— I think what we long for is evolution, basically, which I think is very important. And I think life is about evolving and I think if you stay stuck in one place it's sort of— It can get boring. But I think evolution for me is important and that's what I'm trying to do in my life, in my work, and hence moving to the country and all of that is just the changes that are needed to be able to go on.

Jon:
What is the most tasteful object in your home?

Martin:
I have many tasteful objects in my home, but one of my favourites, it's a beautiful blue and green striped glass bowl by Campbell Rey, which I absolutely love which I have a few ceramic asparaguses in.

Jon:
So from the seemingly sublime to the ridiculous.

Martin:
Yes.

Jon:
What's the most tasteless object in your home?

Martin:
Oh, I'm afraid I don't have any.

Jon:
No— no gifts that you felt you had to hang on to.

Martin:
No, no.

Jon:
Nothing you can blame on your partner. Nothing at all.

Martin:
Oh, no, no, no, no. It's not allowed.

Jon:
Ok, well, maybe we'll find one here. What's the most tasteless thing you've ever worn.

Martin:
I ever worn? Oh, gosh. Well, gosh—.

Jon:
Even with your hyper stylish upbringing, there must have been some questionable fashion moments.

Martin:
I'm sure there was. Oh, I— You know, I think you have to judge everything at the time when it was worn. I mean, I'm sure in my— when I was sort of growing up, I'm sure it would have been some questionable things, but I can't remember. [Inaubible]

Jon:
Context is everything so I'm sure they were fine then anyway.

Martin:
They were fine then, probably not fine now.

Jon:
What's the worst thing you've ever tasted?

Martin:
The worst thing ever tasted... I was brought up again by my mother to basically eat everything that's on the plate and to try everything and, so I guess I just like most food. That's the funny thing. So..

Jon:
It's a good skill to have.

Martin:
It's a good skill to have. The thing is, I never put myself in the sort of situation where I would have to endure something like that so.. But I mean most of the time I'm— No, I can't remember. Sorry!

Martin:
Which restaurant serves the best tasting food?

Martin:
There are many of them, but one of my favourites is Scott's in Mount Street in London.

Jon:
Well done for picking a client as well.

Martin:
Yes.

Jon:
Which interior designer has the best taste?

Martin:
Well, there is a great Italian interior designer called Renzo Mongiardino who was one of my favourites and a great source of inspiration.

Jon:
Tell us what you love about his taste.

Martin:
It's just a layering. I mean, he is— He is what you would call a maximalist, but it's just the layering of his interiors and the way he did it as well—that he would sort of do any sort of high approach residential design as well. He would do a bit, work very closely with the client, and then he would task them to sort of finish it by collecting certain things like plates and hung them— And hang them on the wall. So I think that's sort of— I find quite a beautiful thing. How you can get a client to really connect with that interior that you're making for them and make them part of the story and the journey because at the end of the day, when you do someone's home, it's really their home.

Jon:
What is the most tasteful historical period of design?

Martin:
I would say that it's sort of the— sort of 19— end of the 1920s and 1930s and 1940s where you had like the great designers like Ruhlmann, Jean—Michel Frank, Andre Arbus in France. So, I mean, I think they— That was sort of that sort of period where, you know, classicism sort of mixed with modernism and that's what was done so incredibly well with Art Deco and you had that sort of very elegant, effortless design and style.

Jon:
And, conversely, what's the least tasteful historical period of design?

Martin:
Well, that is most probably the 1970s, even though there are some cool stuff that you can sort of reinvent, but generally... And that is actually something I remember— I— Even I, when I was growing up and I was going to my aunt in Germany and staying with her and they had this house that was brown and orange, and I thought it was appalling at my young age.

Jon:
Age six or something, just being appalled.

Martin:
Yeah.

Jon:
I quite like the vision of you as an appalled six year old.

Martin:
Yes.

Jon:
What's the best taste you've ever acquired?

Martin:
It is probably my absolute love for Italy, especially for a Negroni Sbagliato which basically means wrong— A wrong Negroni.

Jon:
And how does the wrong Negroni differ from the right Negroni?

Martin:
You swap the gin out for Prosecco. So it's a slightly sparkling Negroni.

Jon:
Slightly lighter.

Martin:
Yes, correct.

Martin:
And which country out of all of those you've visited has the best taste?

Martin:
Italy, definitely.

Jon:
What is the number one crime against good taste that people commit in their homes?

Martin:
Bad lighting.

Jon:
When is bad taste actually good taste?

Martin:
Bad taste is good taste when someone has embraced a look completely and they live it and they breathe it and it's part of who they are naturally become. Then it can actually become quite fabulous.

Jon:
And when is good taste actually bad taste?

Martin:
When you have too much of one thing, like wearing head-to-toe Prada or head-to-toe Gucci. It can be very bad taste.

Jon:
Who is your taste icon?

Martin:
Diana Vreeland, because she had this innate idea of colour and as well of having fun and just trying new things. You know, she wrote that that column "Why don't you..?" Just push yourself, do something new, try something new. That was her sort of approach, which is sort of— sort of my own in any way.

Jon:
And finally, why does taste matter?

Martin:
I think it is like a compass that guides us through the day, you know, sort of makes us make decisions that are right for us in our life. I think that's sort of quite important and as I said, it's sort of, you know, it's this sort of visual— You know, for me, it's about creating the visual harmony which is sort of very, very important in my life.

Jon:
Martin, thank you so much. That was really fascinating. Where can people find out more about you?

Martin:
Well, they can find out more about me on my Instagram account. It's @martinbrudnizki. As well, the studio have their own as well called @mbds. Otherwise, of course, there is the website mbds.com.

Jon:
Well, thank you so much for such a fun and interesting chat. It's been great having you on.

Martin:
Thank you, Jon. It's good talking to you.

Jon:
That wraps up this episode of The Tastemakers. Thanks for listening. If you'd like to be notified of new episodes, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And if you enjoyed the show, please do rate and review us. You can discover related images, articles and products in our show notes at LuxDeco.com, where you can also shop over 150 of the world's finest design brands and subscribe to our online magazine, The Luxurist. I've been your host, Jon Sharpe. You can follow me on Instagram @jonsharpe—that's j-o-n-s-h-a-r-p-e—and follow LuxDeco @luxdeco. I'll see you next time. Until then, live beautifully.

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