For more than forty years Andrew Martin has been at the frontline of British interior design. Founded in 1978, the company has pioneered some of our generation's most significant trends. Starting with the sorcery of Thai silk ikats and the classics of Kelim, through to the irreverent Porn Collection, a constant stream of innovation has forged the brand into every corner of the globe.
ufurnish.com Co-Founder and CEO, Deirdre McGettrick, sat down with Andrew Martin’s Founder, Martin Waller, to learn more about the business and the inspiration behind it.
Q1. What was the inspiration that led to you creating Andrew Martin?
I was always in love with the theatre of retail and what Barbara Hulanicki did at Big Biba, the iconic department store on Kensington High Street.
Q2.You’ve been called the ‘Indiana Jones of Interior Design’ and you’ve travelled the world to build the business. What have been some of your most inspiring locations to visit for Interior Design?
Travel is the great luxury of our generation. It gives us the opportunity to see and absorb cultures, peoples and eras so different from our own. I have hunted mammoth in Siberia, encountered headhunters in Nagaland and explored lost cities in Guatemala. My favourite country though is Ethiopia. Steeped in history and beauty with an abundance of treasure, it is like nowhere else on earth. For design inspiration, I choose Jim Thompson’s house in Bangkok. He was the first to demonstrate the wonder of South East Asian art in a traditional Thai setting.
Q3. Andrew Martin offers stunning products across a large range of home product categories. What would you say are your signatory home product categories and why?
Fabric and wallpaper, as much as furniture and lighting, have always been at the centre of the AM story. More recently, cushions and art have been added into our signature mix - we have become the go-to place for electrifying neons and luxury feather-filled cushions.
Q4. Andrew Martin has teamed up with Rewards.Earth as part of its ‘Giving Something Back’ program. Can you tell our community more about this?
At the beginning of the year, we chose to partner with Rewards.Earth as a way of reducing our impact on the planet, and becoming a more carbon conscious business. So, for every order we receive, we plant a tree in different locations worldwide. Moreover, in the UK, Rewards.Earth collaborate with the Green Task Force to help reintegrate our ex-servicemen and women into society through vocational training. This incredible work not only gives each veteran a recognised qualification and route to employment, it also aids their recovery from PTSD and other conflict related issues through Nature Based Therapy.
Q5. What does the next 12 months look like for Andrew Martin and what should our ufurnish.com community look out for?
We are on the cusp of launching our third ready-made cushion collection in collaboration with interior designer, Sophie Paterson and we have an exciting new licence for wallpapers with the British Museum on the horizon.