London House

The Knowledge

My London House with Martin Brudnizki

December 14th 2022

This month we sit down with interior designer Martin Brudnizki to find out a little bit more about the interior design of Annabel’s, his career as well as getting a behind the scenes look at his Parsons Green apartment as we discover his favourite area in London.

Founded in 1963, Annabel’s in London’s Mayfair has built a global reputation over the past five decades as the most elegant and exclusive private members’ club in the world. In Spring 2018, following a lavish redesign, Annabel’s reopened at no. 46 Berkeley Square, just two doors down from the original club.

Renowned interior design studio, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio was tasked overseeing the design of Annabel’s, retaining the period features of the listed building. The team painstakingly restored original features and created the club’s leisure areas now spread across four spacious floors, with fun and vibrant interior schemes that include: The Rose Room; The Elephant Room and The Humidor.

Today we sit down with interior designer Martin Brudnizki to find out a little bit more about the interior design of Annabel’s, his career as well as what London means to him.

You have studios in both London and New York, what is the biggest difference between both studios in terms of client wants and needs?

MBDS first started in 2000 in London and by 2012 we opened a studio in New York. We have the same kind of work going through both studios (a mixture of hospitality and private residential) and whilst both studios work to the same design values and principles, each project is unique and personal to the client. There is also a marked difference between British and American styles - the US has places like Miami and LA, which have very different cultures and references to say London. However, there is an underlying thread that connects both studios so that a project is universally recognisable whilst also remaining unique and personal to the client, their project and desires.

Your studio mainly works with high end Hotel design, what has been a career highlight for you so far?

I get asked this question a lot and I don’t think I could ever pick out one single project however, there are a few projects that I consider being turning points in the business. Scott’s in London is an institution and when the London Studio was asked to revamp the space we were excited to make our mark yet still ensuring it felt like it belonged. At the time, there was an elderly lady who lived next door to Scott’s and after we finished the redesign she said it felt like it had always belonged and been there. There was the best compliment we could have got.

Soho Beach House Miami was a pivotal project for our New York Studio. It marked one of our first US hotel projects but more importantly, it gave us the opportunity to help introduce the famous Soho House brand to a new region.

Equally, The Beekman in New York was very exciting because that was our first full hotel project in New York. It is in such a beautiful building and we really enjoyed anchoring the design to the neighbourhood. Finally, Annabel’s in London was a real turning point for the studio. It is such an iconic institution with a rich history and heritage. We felt excited to be given the task of moving it to 46 Berkeley Square and revamping its aesthetic entirely. It was also a memorable project because we worked so closed with the client, who really pushed us to our design limits and allowed us to work with materials, artists and craftspeople that we have never worked with before.

Many of your hotel designs have become synonymous with contemporary luxury, including the unabashed interior extravagance at Annabel’s.

When it came to reimagining Annabel’s what was the design inspiration for you and the team?

We worked very closely with the client, Richard Caring. He wanted to create a beautiful members’ club that took people from breakfast through to the early hours. Our concept came from flora and fauna - two of Mr Caring’s great loves. Our idea was to create a home away from home, where you’d walk in and feel like you’ve just walked into the best dressed house in London, where you know you’ll have a fabulous time. Annabel’s is an escapist dream, with each room reflecting a different kind of garden from all over the world. As soon as you walk through the doors you know you’re going to have the best time.

We noticed you have done some residential design. Do you see any influences from this sector in hotel and vice versa?

We’ve always worked in residential design however, since the pandemic, this has boomed and we now have a large, dedicated residential team in London and New York. We are currently working on various projects all over the world, from LA and Lahore to London and Texas. A lot of people come to us because they have seen and experienced our hospitality spaces however, more often than not, people don’t want to live like that (they are great fun for an evening meal and party or a few days stay) however, people want a more toned down environment in which to live. With that in mind, we find the crossover comes from materiality and craftsmanship techniques that we have referenced in hospitality projects, for instance, specialist plasterwork, glass art and bespoke furniture.

What does 2023 hold for MBDS?

We have another big year ahead of us. In Paris alone we are completing two hotels and in New York we are also finishing a large hotel on Fifth Avenue. There is a hotel in London opening later in the year and we have numerous F&B spaces coming to completion too - in January the new Vesper Bar at The Dorchester will be complete. Alongside our hospitality work, we will be continuing our private residential work too.

Working in some of London’s best neighbourhoods, we want to get a sense of ‘Your London’ so we have some quick-fire questions for you:

Favourite area and why?

I live in Parsons Green which I really enjoy for its green spaces and neighbourhood feeling. I travel a lot and so when I am back in London I like to be able to relax and unwind in my apartment.

Favourite Gallery:

I think this really depends on what’s on at the time. Philips is always inspiring but the smaller galleries in St. James’s often has something really special that I've never seen before. I have a very eclectic taste when it comes to art. I love grand portraiture and whimsical paintings of dogs, but I also really enjoy Modern British art like Ben Nicholson and Howard Hodgkin.

Favourite Shop:

Again, this depends on what I am shopping for! Fiona McDonald is always a go-to for mid century furniture whilst I like having suits made by P Johnson and off-the-rail clothes from Drakes. 8 Holland Street is always good for something inspiring and a bit different and for food and groceries, you can often find me in Sally Clarke or Bayley and Sage on the Kings Road.

Favourite Restaurant:

Scott’s. I always have the Dover Sole.

Best place for a night out:

I’m not one for nights out now. I am quite a homebody really and enjoy relaxing at home with my partner Jonathan and our dog Zenon.

Best place for breakfast:

If we are in London at the weekend (which isn’t often as we have a house in the country that we escape to each week), then Joanthan and I do enjoy Hally’s in Parsons Green. It’s a bit of a local institution. Otherwise, we like to pick up pastries and enjoy homemade coffee from the comfort of our flat.

Best kept secret:

That would be telling!