We catch up with the design duo to talk about their decadent, urban furniture designs, discover what they love about Philippe Starck and Banksy and find out why they’ll settle for nothing else but a true Swedish Christmas…
How did you meet and get to become a successful design duo?
Jimmie: We first met in Sweden in 1997, but it wasn’t until 2004 when we started to create pieces in and for our north London flat.
Martin: There was never the intention of becoming a design duo from the outset. This happened pretty much by coincidence years later when we both lived and worked in London.
You create ‘decadent and quirky with the nostalgic and urban’ pieces of furniture and accessories, but where and how exactly do you find your inspiration?
Jimmie: It comes from every day life – from the news, streets, fashion, people, music… You just don’t know when the next good idea will appear.
Martin: From several different angles and experiences. When we started we did the pieces for our own home only. Not having enough money at the time to buy new things we tried to update and create something nice and different using old pieces, yet create something that looked modern. I also believe our everyday lives, present and past, influence everything we do. As a designer you tend to find inspiration or ideas in everything and nothing. You combine different elements you see to create, hopefully, something unique and original.
You used exclusive images of Andy Warhol for your Andy Dandy project. Who is your personal favourite artist and why?
Jimmie: I haven’t got a personal favorite if I’m going to be honest. I like things from everywhere. The best is to mix and match as you like whether it’s something well known or completely unknown. This goes for art, interiors and fashion.
Martin: There are many and I don’t think I can exclusively select anyone, but Philippe Starck has always been a designer who’s work I admire and Banksy for the way he so brilliantly gets his messages through.
Jimmie Martin’s Andy Dandy – a collaboration of exclusive images of Andy Warhol and flowers by photographers Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg:
You’ve worked with some top celebrities including Kylie Minogue – but what has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
Jimmie: Apart from working on pieces for big pop stars that I always admired growing up and still do, I must say one fun job was to be flown over to NYC to work on some pieces for a luxury Upper East-Side hotel. One of my personal highs is when I get to create whole interior spaces.
Martin: We did a piece for a charity, which Kylie signed, but I don’t have a favourite as such. Sometimes you scratch your head when you realize that you’re selling pieces to people you never thought you’d encounter.
I love the imperfection (and grafitti) of your Imperfection chests. But what is your personal favourite design?
Jimmie: My favourite is probably the Sausage Dog chairs. But I keep changing my mind - with our pieces there’s never anything that always looks the same…
Martin: I think I’m with you on that one. The Imperfection chest is definitely one of my favorites. Also the Stud Flamingo chair we created recently.
How would you describe your home’s style?
Jimmie: Right now it’s a cosy home with dark painted walls and some colour explosions mixed with new and old items, different textures, shapes and finishes. A place where I can relax with my partner and two cats each day after work.
Martin: I like change. So I tend to change the look and feel of my home according to the type of property and the mood I’m in to be honest. I’ve been very minimalistic as well as decadent. I usually settle for a mixture of old and new pieces. Some personal objects have followed me through the years and I will always try and find a place for them, as they’re the definition of it being my home and not a showcase home. Personal items are essential.
Jimmie’s headboard at home:
What do you think makes a house a home?
Jimmie: Peoples personality and items collected throughout life. This gives it personality and instantly a home feel. For a nice home it should look lived in, like a space where the home owner actually comes home to unwind after a long day at work.
Martin: For me personal items are key – even if they don’t always fit in with the overall scheme, there should always be room for items of personal meaning.
What new trend should we be coveting this next season?
Jimmie: I don’t think people should follow trends too much. We need to do what we like and is best for ourselves. That’s more important. Trends constantly change.
Martin: Watch out for studs.
What two products could you not live without?
Jimmie: OMG I need my TV…I just love to get lost in all these crap shows and series. What else could I not live without? Probably my Boots No 7 anti- ageing serum, which makes me believe that my face might age a little bit slower…haha!
Martin: My laptop and I’d like to say my car even though I probably could live without it.
How will you be spending Christmas?
Jimmie: I’ll make a big proper Swedish Christmas dinner in my flat, inviting my nearest and dearest. I’m very egocentric when it comes to Christmas and I won’t eat anything else but a Swedish Christmas dinner in my flat.
Martin: I’ll be going to Sweden to spend Christmas with my parents and brothers and their families.
For more on Jimmie and Martin visit the Jimmie Martin website.
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