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In Good Company: Martin Waller

Martin Waller, nicknamed the Indiana Jones of the design world, is the founder of Andrew Martin which is now entering its fifth decade of eclectic, travel-inspired furnishings

April 2019

When was the business founded and why?
In 1978, because 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.

How many staff?
We currently employ 50.

Where is it based?
We are on Walton Street in Chelsea, London.

What is your latest significant achievement or project of note?
Andrew Martin turning 40. The last five decades have been a period which encompasses a huge diversity of styles, looks and trends.

What is your best selling product?
Our Truman sectional sofa, which is the epitome of comfort.

I’ve just discovered…
I’ve rediscovered the 1970s. I always called it the decade which taste forgot but it is full of astonishingly inventive and imaginative ideas.

Who inspires me…
Stephen Falcke – he redefined how African tribal art can be used in contemporary interiors.

I’ve always been a fan of…
Indigenous textiles in all their miraculous heritage and cultural significance.

My highlight of the last 12 months…
Exploring the Amazon and finding vibrant headdresses of the Xingu tribe made from toucan feathers and beads. I passed through villages where each house was decorated with a different colour and with a local animal painted onto its facade to differentiate between the families that lived there.

My next design trip is to…
Cambodia, to hunt for temples beyond Angkor Wat. From the 9th-century temple Preah Vihear, you can peer down the steep mountainside into Thailand. Who knows what other hidden wonders I will spy from there.

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