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The Story

 
The Andrew Martin story

Founded in 1978, Andrew Martin International is a UK brand with global authority within the world of interior design.

Offering a wide range of fabrics, wallpapers, furniture and home accessories inspired by a unique mix of cultures, nostalgia and decades, Andrew Martin International is the go-to place for tastemakers in search of individual interiors with a twist.

The Andrew Martin aesthetic draws inspiration from a kaleidoscope combination of cultures and eras. Its ideology is to surprise, stimulate and entertain; its aim, to bring its multilayered, multicultural, easy living style to everybody who likes it. Visitors to any one of the 17 (and growing) Andrew Martin global showrooms can immerse themselves in a truly unique brand experience that boasts an eclectic, glamorous mix of products that chooses statement

over subtlety every time and is certainly never dull. A fusion of cultures with touches of charming playfulness permeates interior spaces that effortlessly mix high glamour with ancient traditions. A trip to the Walton Street showroom in London has been described as "like stepping in to Aladdin's Cave, with an almost bonkers mix of beautiful and enormous objects that shouldn't go together, yet somehow do."

Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year Award & Interior Design Review

Martin Waller's passion for good design prompted him to found the 'Interior Designer of the Year award' in 1996, which soon became the pinnacle of the interior design industry, being described by the Sunday Times as "The Oscars for the interior design world".

The award, which attracts entries from designers worldwide, is judged by a distinguished panel that has included Jo Malone, Terry O'Neil, A A Gill and the Duchess of York with the list of recipients reading like a 'who's who' of the interior design industry with previous winners Kelly Hoppen, Kit Kemp and Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. Each year the very best work from entrants is published in the influential 'Interior Design Review' book now in its 20th year and described as the bible for the interior design world.

Buy Interior Design Review Books View the 2011 Awards Photos View the 2011 Awards Video

Martin Waller

Martin Waller

Company director Martin Waller co-founded the Andrew Martin brand in 1978 setting up shop in Richmond selling a range of fabrics and home accessories. Waller found instant success with Andrew Martin winning the window display of the year award and despite hard economic times the brand grew rapidly with Waller opening a second showroom in Richmond in 1981. Through the early eighties Waller continued to make a name for himself in the interior design world and by 1985 was working on iconic set designs for the James Bond films A View to a Kill and The Living Daylights.

By 1987 Waller had taken sole ownership of the brand and Andrew Martin relocated to larger premises in London's fashionable, cosmopolitan Walton Street. With the move Waller's personality and continuing passion for travel further galvanised the Andrew Martin brand which introduced playful new fabric collections including hand woven silks from Thailand. A second company director was appointed in 1988, Terence Disdale, a super yacht interior designer and student of the famously coined "Chelsea University" whose style mantra of 'beach house not 'penthouse' coupled well with Waller's own unique approach to interior design. With highly successful Kilim fabric collections launching in 1989 and print collections in 1992, Waller's vision had gained worldwide recognition and the term 'Fusion interiors' was credited to Waller's signature style with his book 'Andrew Martin's Fusion Interiors' being published in 2000.

Travel is at the heart of the Andrew Martin brand and from the beginning Waller has been described as somewhat of a global nomad. His travel destinations have covered every continent and include trips to Siberia in search of Mammoths to Nepal for a competitive game of elephant polo. His countless expeditions have landed him the nickname of 'the modern-day Indiana Jones'. His travels to faraway lands not only provide Waller with a source of design inspiration but direct access to the world's treasure chest of cultural artefacts and traditions.

Martin on Travel

Travel is the great luxury of our generation. We take for granted trips to far-flung places that our forefathers would have thought extraordinary. It took Marco Polo 17 years to make his famous trip to China. You could have breakfast in Beijing tomorrow.

The gift of travel has given us the opportunity to see and absorb cultures so different from our own. We can see for ourselves wonders that were previously just thought to be travellers' tall tales. The reverse side is that the world's differences are blurring. Whole cultures, and even peoples, are disappearing. In the final decades of the nineteenth century the lifestyle of the native American was almost wiped out. At the start of the twentieth century aborigines and pygmies were still being hunted. Even today, the Amazonian Indian is under extreme threat. It is ironic that just at the point where these cultures are staring at oblivion, people are realising their value.

Martin Waller on travel

A common culture underpinned by international media and worldwide brands may or may not create the beneficial effect of bringing harmony and common understanding, but it certainly will make the world far less interesting. I don't doubt that the world will continue to shrink. We can see it close to home as crofters n Scotland, tin miners in Cornwall, and family farmers in rural America see their age old ways of life disappearing. Perhaps we are at a junction where, although travel has become straightforward, mass communication has not yet destroyed the whole point of travel.

Design has always been about more than just attractive patterns. It is about reflecting a personal view on a subject. For me this has often been about describing my love of various places and peoples. It was in Thailand that I first saw the miracle of silk yarn production and the laborious work of ikat weaving, which can take a day to produce a single metre. But it was more than just the end product that captivated me; it was the serene patience of the weavers, the skill of the dyers and the ancient tradition of the technique.

Andrew Martin travel image

This was what set me on the road to developing our various fabric designs for Andrew Martin. With a fickle heart I have fallen in love with many products in this way: pottery in China, rattan in the Philippines, wood-carvings in India, rugs in Tibet. I cannot resist the product on account of the culture that has created it. And it's not just true in exotic places. The United States, which I have always enjoyed, is also a constant source of inspiration, ranging from the sophistication of New York to the more wholesome look of the 1950s.

My designs for Andrew Martin are infused with this attitude. I think it's common for designers in any field to want to communicate something. For the Bauhaus it was about a new attitude towards form and function. Often a political viewpoint has been an influence, and religion even more so. And love has always been a powerful motivator with much influence. For me design has been about reflecting different cultures and communicating a passion for the people that made them. While many designers want to say something new, I want to say something old – to capture a flavour of an antique land and somehow bottle it. It's a homage to the many generations from different lands who have bequeathed a legacy of design.

Martin on Fusion Interiors

Fusion Interiors celebrates the constantly alluring idea of discovering and blending flavours and ideas from around the globe. It is a concept dedicated to the idea of escape through association, style through diversity. It is a recipe for elegant living, simple but eclectic propositions, fusing ideas from many different cultures. It inspires designs upon the home which provide a sense of escapism and pleasure similar to the experiences of travelling. Fusion Interiors is about taking you beyond the everyday – allowing you to try and forget the routines and pressures of day to day life with thoughts for the home that celebrate difference, inspiration and vitality. Combining influences, colours, fabrics, art and objects from all corners of the world, it brings them together in a cohesive, elegant way.

Andrew Martin in the Press

  • Sunday Times:
  • "A barometer of style for our era"
  • Judith Wilson:
  • "Leaves the competition standing"
  • American Express:
  • "The place to shop until your jaw drops"
  • Jill Curry:
  • "Fusion interiors at its best"
  • Interior Design:
  • "A whole theatrical experience, more a destination than a shop"
  • Hello:
  • "Global by reputation"
  • Financial Times:
  • "One London shop is waging war on consumer boredom"
  • Evening Standard:
  • "Most successful interiors company in London"
  • The Resident:
  • "Something of a legend"
  • The Times:
  • "Glamorous upscale living is Andrew Martin's signature... a global shopperholic, a guru, a god"
  • The Daily Telegraph:
  • "Walking through the hallowed doors invariably feels as if you are entering the British Museum"
  • The Evening Standard:
  • "The Indiana Jones of interior design"
  • Rare:
  • "The company has crossed boundaries while setting a constant stream of trends"
  • Midas:
  • "The Andrew Martin brand has taken the interior design world by storm"