The Creative LifeAuthor:Jessica Ritz
Jason Martin settles into a newly expanded Martin & Brockett showroom and studio in Mid-City L.A.
In a departure from the milieu of exacting, calculated showrooms, interior designer Jason Martin can present his distinct aesthetic and let loose a bit in the new Martin & Brockett shop and studio. He moved into the expanded base situated a few blocks east from his previous location on Pico Boulevard in Mid-City Los Angeles this past fall. “When I looked at the space, I thought this looks like an artist’s studio,” the native Texan says.
To make the 2,000-square-foot building his own, Martin envisioned a scenario he’s seen unfold many times over. He imagined this theoretical artist’s studio would be a harbinger of gentrification, “and then you get kicked out. So what would be the next thing? We wanted to feel like we were maybe the third people in the space.” Earlier tenants of the property included a lawnmower repair shop and a children’s indoor play facility. “Because of that, I felt like we could leave it a little bit raw and let the furniture be almost gallery-like,” Martin explains.
Design interventions simultaneously highlight the creative process and a honed style that mixes old school flourishes with contemporary collected eclecticism. The entrance is outfitted with multicolored tiles in custom glazes, a project done in collaboration with Sara Wick of Proper Tile, who uses areas of the Martin & Brockett showroom for her extensive tile and stone sample inventory. Martin designed a custom kitchen and island, with an impeccable selection of cocktail makings stored at the ready. Set behind a Lake August Matilija pattern curtain is the Martin & Brockett design studio, where Martin and team work on client projects and product design. Renovated restrooms also exhibit a certain whimsy with details like the Martin & Brockett Lupa collection adapted into a vanity topped with a scalloped-edge calcatta viola backsplash flanked by sconces that illuminate miniature sculptural busts.
The high ceilings, sense of expansiveness, and generous natural light are flattering to the fine art and original Martin & Brockett upholstered furnishings and case goods on display, along with curated vintage items. Martin maintains relationships with artists such as Tim Forcum and Austin, Texas-based R.F. Alvarez, whose works are available on site and are part of the mix of fine art spanning multiple decades, styles, and mediums that Martin deftly weaves into lively vignettes.
Martin notes that when he was working from his previous smaller showroom and studio that he opened in 2015, he had 16 pieces in the brand’s portfolio of original furniture designs. He counts 38 in the locally-made (and customizable) collections that include the Arcade console, Harrison seating, and the aforementioned Lupa line, which features wolf-inspired feet based on the tale of the founding of Rome. The ottoman, for example, is available in the larger style with larger “mother wolf” feet, while the more petite ottoman stands on what he dubs “cub” feet. Martin’s attention to this detail reveals how he balances a sense of humor with design discipline. “We worked to make it look not too realistic because I don’t like that taxidermy look. It’s a little wolf-like, but more mythical,” he notes.
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