Martyn Thompson's book Working Space
Dream rug by Martyn Thompson for Perennials
Rose rug by Martyn Thompson for Perennials
Splash rug by Martyn Thompson for Perennials
Echo rug by Martyn Thompson for Perennials
Martyn Thompson refuses to be boxed in. The Sydney, Australia, native began hand-painting clothes in the 1980s but soon launched a successful career in fashion photography in London. In 1993, Ilse Crawford, then editor of Elle Decoration UK, saw some of Thompson’s fashion shots and asked him to photograph the same space without a model.
“She liked the mood I achieved and that I approached the interior from a point of view of light and emotion,” Thompson says. Like that, a career in interiors photography was born — one that has influenced a generation of photographers to follow.
Thompson will be at David Sutherland Wednesday, October 24 for an evening of cocktails, a book signing, and an illustrated talk delving into the world of interiors photography and design.
“The style of photography we developed in the early ’90s is commonplace now, but 25 years ago it was surprising,” he says. “One thing I learned is that great design is so much more than the objects in a room. If it has no feeling or emotional quality it isn’t a success.”
Thompson went on to shoot for Architectural Digest, Vogue, W, and The New York Times, and has documented the homes of Elsa Peretti, John Derian, Anna Sui, and Vincent Van Duysen. His commercial work includes projects for Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and Hermès. Thompson has published several books of his interiors photography, including his most recent, Working Space: An Insight into the Creative Heart (Hardie Grant Books, $49.95), and his work has evolved to include video, mixed-media print, and 3-D fabrication (textiles, wallpaper, furniture, and lighting) that he produces from his studio in New York City.
This fall, he veers in yet another exciting direction: a collection of Tibetan Knot rugs for Perennials. Dallas-based designer Sara See made the introduction to Ann Sutherland, founder of Perennials, after seeing some of Thompson’s jacquard textile designs.
“I create my designs from photographs, so it doesn’t feel like much of a leap to rugs,” Thompson says.
His Rose rug is based on a photo of a cabbage he shot decades ago. Splash is inspired by a photo of a swimming pool in Provence. The biggest challenge, he says, was reducing the thousands of colors found in a photograph down to 10 or 12 hues for a rug.
As part of Texas Design Week Dallas, Wednesday, October 24, at 6 pm, Martyn Thompson introduces his rugs for Perennials and signs copies of his books, Work Space: An Insight Into the Creative Heart, and Interiors, at David Sutherland showroom, Dallas Design Center, 1025 N. Stemmons Freeway. For tickets to Texas Design Week Dallas, go to texasdesignweek.com.