Some interior designers have a style that’s tricky to pin down. It can’t be reduced to a few words or historic influences, it just works. Martin Brudnizki is one of those designers – conjuring experiential fantasies that feel like a different world: from the escapist luxury of London’s private members’ clubs Annabel’s and Harry’s Bar to the Four Seasons in Palm Beach. This year, he’s worked on his first full London-based hotel project – the Broadwick Soho, which makes its debut next month – and next year he will oversee a new Corinthia in New York. This month, he officially opens his first retail space (following a soft launch) on Pimlico Road, London: a mini Brudnizki universe showcasing furniture, lighting and accessories from And Objects, the brand he co-founded with its creative director Nicholas Jeanes.
When I meet Brudnizki to talk about the venture at his Chelsea studio, he and Jeanes are busy discussing how to perfect the fragrance for the new space. “We’ve already compiled dozens of playlists but the scent is more important than the music,” says the Swedish-born designer. “It’s what immediately transports you and lends a residential rather than retail feel.” He holds up a highly ornate Murano-glass vessel containing a scented candle – its aroma will waft through the new store.
I recall a story about the fashion designer Rick Owens who commissioned a fragrance for his Paris flagship inspired by the macabre idea of “a prince’s corpse”. Owens loved it, but many customers were not so convinced. Brudnizki laughs: “I love a designer who thinks obsessively about details. It’s great to experiment to tell your story. Thankfully, we know we have the right fragrance for us.”
The space is spread over two floors within the Newson’s Yard development, a Chelsea hub for the design community that opened earlier this year. “The colour of the ceiling and all the woodwork is a dusty yellow,” says Brudnizki, “and the walls are papered in a cream seagrass wallpaper [by Phillip Jeffries], finished off with a fabric piping detail with a Turkish knot [in Christopher Farr Cloth’s Boundary Fabric].” The sense of drama is heightened in mirrored alcoves, with silver-leaf églomisé and “liquid” gold paint created for the store by Paul Clifford of Clifford Glass Studio. It’s characteristically extravagant and rich in colour but, as Brudnizki explains, “it’s supposed to feel like a home”. He is already thinking about the store as an events space: “We will bring it to life with what we do. We are talking about having chef evenings, with links to some of the restaurants we have designed, and will invite the makers to demonstrate what they do. We will have workshops, talks and gatherings.”
The new space isn’t a typical showroom but somewhere to chat and browse. Yes, you can order the Binderton sofa (from £10,500) or a set of leather-wrapped Easton dining chairs (from £3,500 each), made up in your choice of fabric, but you can also purchase one of the aforementioned scented candles (from £90), cashmere throws in contrasting blues or yellows (£1,250) and a wide range of tabletop pieces.
Over the years, there has been no shortage of design peers keen to work with Brudnizki, who has never been afraid to experiment. In 2021, The Rug Company launched the designer’s New Romantics collection, which has become one of its most popular series. “It draws from an eclectic pool of influences, citing architectural grandeur, the dazzle of animal print and the beauty of free-flowing expression as inspiration,” says The Rug Company’s CEO James Seuss. “The rugs demonstrate Brudnizki’s unique ability to collect and layer diverse elements into a harmonious yet maximalist design.”
Brudnizki and Jeanes’s collection of their standalone 14-piece furniture and lighting line released the same year drew on the sleek, refined lines of 1920s Swedish Grace. “It was Sweden’s answer to art deco – a mixture of classicism and modernity, in a uniquely elegant way,” says the designer. That same aesthetic weaves into the narrative of his store. “We want to group things together visually, from silver matchstick holders to brass fire tongs. We’re creating a journey through the living room,” Brudnizki says. “It’s not just about decorating – it’s about how things work for you.”
As well as small objects that you can take home on a spontaneous visit, some of the more substantial forever objects one can experience before ordering can be seen for the first time. “We have two new tables in the shop alongside four table lamps, a dining chair, a sofa, an armchair and wall lights,” Jeanes says excitedly. “There’s around 40 pieces in total – which means there’s something for everyone.”
Source: Financial Times