Martyn Lawrence Bullard: Bright Ideas

Martyn Lawrence Bullard in his Melrose Avenue Office.

Imaginative, glamorous, elegant, impeccable … all describe the Martyn Lawrence Bullard for Corbett Lighting Collection as well as its eponymous creator. The award-winning celebrity designer has epitomized his opulent persona and renowned mastery of melding myriad styles within his 40-piece collection, which includes chandeliers, pendant lights and sconces. As reflected in his sophisticated and inviting interiors, Bullard’s discernment for scale and the impact of lighting on mood and ambiance is evident in each fabulous fixture. We had the pleasure of speaking with the designer about his latest collection. From the tropics of Carayes to the island of Murano, Bullard sheds light on his inspirations and creative process.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME – Are there any design principles to which you always adhere? What does your product design process look like?
Martyn Lawrence Bullard – Comfort for me is a modern luxury. A knowledge of scale is a vital ingredient and how to light a space to optimum dramatic effect. I always start with the architecture of a space and work up my designs from there. It’s a balance between the client’s personality, the architectural references, a sense of place and ultimately the creation of a personal comfort-filled sanctuary.

The Pink Cabana at The Sands Hotel & Spa Designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME – Are any fixtures inspired by a stylish story?
Martyn Lawrence Bullard – The fixtures all have stories. The long hoop of “Everly” is inspired from a pearl earring Elizabeth Taylor used to wear, I believe it was Van Cleef and Arpels from the 1960s or ’70s. I loved the shape and idea of this jewel suspended in a golden hoop. The “Magic Garden” is inspired by the Camellia flowers’ that Coco Chanel would cut out and form from paper and use to decorate her atelier during fashion shows.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME – Do you have any of the collection in your own home?
Martyn Lawrence Bullard – I do. I have the Melrose lights over my kitchen island and the smaller Melrose mini ones around my kitchen as pendants rather than using spots. I love the way they look and they have inspired new designs that will be coming soon to add to the collection also.

Melrose Pendants in Mr. Bullard’s California Home/House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME – How did you come up with the names for each fixture in the collection?
Martyn Lawrence Bullard – The names are mostly centric to my life in some way. The Hopper because I live in Dennis Hopper’s old home. The Melrose because my offices are located on Melrose Avenue, etc. They all have a meaning that unravels to a personal story or feeling I have.

Brooke Hayward in front of Bullard’s home when she lived there with Dennis Hopper and their children from 1963 to 1977. Photo: © Dennis Hopper, The Hopper Art Trust

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME – Is your personality reflected in any/all of the collection? 
Martyn Lawrence Bullard – I think certainly some of the facets of my personality are shown in this collection. I love glamorous and dramatic lighting in my interiors and these designs capture that, from the scale to the finishes. The use of aged brass, given a beautiful patina that says old school glamour rather than flashy. The refined Murano glass used on our butterfly inspired lighting (Milan collection) are all hand blown with craftsmanship and love. All signatures of my character and design passions.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME – Were there any pieces in particular that were especially fun or interesting to work on? Any happy accidents that came about throughout design development?
Martyn Lawrence Bullard – I love the fanciful glass butterflies that are so wonderful on our Milan Chandelier. The smaller version I didn’t think would work and now is actually my favorite piece in that collection for its whimsical scale. I also love the bold use of Rattan. The giant shade like fixture (Carayes) has a real year-round vacation experience to it that makes me happy and reminds me of a wonderful vacation spent in Carayes, Mexico surrounded by a jungle of rattan and bamboo.
The happy accident was seeing the Secret Garden wall sconces all clustered together before installation on the floor, that looked so good together in a grouping that we decided to create several sizes so you could make floral lighting – scape or bouquet on your wall and really make a statement.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard and His Magic Garden Sconces at the Maison&Objet launch of his Corbett Lighting Collection. Photo Courtesy @martynbullard Instagram.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME – What material are you most drawn to? Which was most difficult to perfect for the collection?
Martyn Lawrence Bullard – My favorite material is the aged brass we used. It took many hours to perfect the right level of aging to create a time-worn patina that gives the fixtures such a special luster and sense of originality. I also am excited about the Koa wood shades I had carved for the Utopia chandeliers. This natural wood option creates a really wonderful and unexpected texture in the collection and turns this mid-century inspired chandelier and wall sconces into something more exciting and even adds a warm tropical feeling to that collection.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME – Kourtney or Khloe? 😉
MARTYN LAWRENCE BULLARD – I love Kourtney’s style. We had so much fun designing together creating a clean, fresh, and modern environment for her family whilst implementing mid-century modern pieces with important provenance. Khloe, however, has a love for more drama and bolder interiors that were great fun to create also. A touch of exotic and Mediterranean luxury is seen in her home where comfort rules the design scenes. It would be hard to pick between them as both so different in a way, and yet so similar in so many others!

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