This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Martyn Thompson's Distinctive Design Comes To The NGV

Creative People

Martyn Thompson is a unique creative polymath working across photography, textile and wallpaper design, editioned art and publishing.

Though he runs his eponymous studio out of his adopted home of New York City, Martyn is currently back in Australia preparing for the prestigious Rigg Design Prize 2018 exhibition.

Along with nine co-exhibiting designers, Martyn in the running For Australia’s highest contemporary design accolade; so what’s he got in mind?

19th September, 2018

Inside the New York City home of Martyn Thompson. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

Martyn works across photography, textile and wallpaper design, editioned art and publishing. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

Martyn is in contention for NGV’s Rigg Design Prize 2018. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

Photo – Martyn Thompson.

Martyn Thompson Studio’s textiles from the ‘Cézanne’s Shadow’ and ‘The Accidental Expressionist’ ranges. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

‘Accidental Expressionist’ teaware in collaboration with 1882 Ltd. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

‘Midnight Moondust’ wallpaper from the collaboration with Fabscarte. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

Martyn’s designs in throughout his studio/loft. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

Martyn Thompson Studio’s jacquard textile: ‘Drop Cloth Thistle’. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

Martyn’s collaboration with Perrenials recently won the Architizer A+ jury prize for best design! Pictured: ‘Splash Mustard’. Photo – Martyn Thompson.

Elle Murrell
Wednesday 19th September 2018

‘I think the exhibition will be a wonderful thing to see as its 10 different points view each striving to create an idea of beauty.’ – Martyn Thompson

When I got in touch with Martyn Thompson last week he was on the road from Sydney to Melbourne with ‘a van full of Rigg exhibition!’

This Rigg Design Prize 2018 exhibition will open on October 12th at Melbourne’s NGV Australia, featuring exhibits from Martyn and nine other shortlisted Australian design practices. Each will produce an interior which demonstrates ‘how designers create interiors as forms of communication embedded with values, ideas and stories that directly engage with the cultural, historical, material and technological aspects of society’. One prize winner, selected by an international judge, will be announced to coincide with the exhibition opening.

A former Sydney native, Martyn has found himself in high-calibre company, alongside Melbourne-based Flack Studio, David Hicks, Danielle Brustman and Hecker Guthrie, along with Sydney-based firms Amber Road, Arent & Pyke, Scott Weston Architecture Design, The Society Inc by Sibella Court, and Richards Stanisich.

Knowing Martyn and his extraordinary aesthetic, we are dying to see what magic he conjures out of that van! As we wait with baited breath, he kindly hints at what we can look forward to…

We last featured you on TDF’s film series The Outlanders in 2015; what have you been focusing on since then?

A lot has happened-especially with my design work. I’ve continued exploring pattern and fabrication using my photography as the basis, and moved into creating some three-dimensional pieces. There have been three Martyn Thompson Studio jacquard textile collections — The Accidental Expressionist (2015), Rockpool (2016) and Watercolor (2018).

There have also been some great collaborations with brilliant artisans and producers including English ceramics company 1882 Ltd and the Milanese craftsmen Fabscarte. In May this year, we launched a series of rugs with the Dallas based company, Perennials. These have thrillingly just won the Architizer A+ jury prize for best design!

For the Rigg Design Prize in 2018, you’ve been invited to design a purpose-built interior that responds to the theme of ‘Domestic Living’.
 What does this theme mean to you and what can we expect from your part of the exhibition?

I’ve taken a personal approach and looked at what I surround myself with and how I live my domestic life – what is important to me. My work for the Rigg is very much a continuation of the aesthetic I’ve been building with Martyn Thompson Studio over the past five years through the layering of textiles and the mixing of pattern… the use of asymmetric shapes and the idiosyncratic juggling of ‘high’ and ‘low’ design.

I think the exhibition will be a wonderful thing to see as its 10 different points view each striving to create an idea of beauty.

Relocating from Sydney followed by time in Paris and London, you’ve now been living and working in NYC for almost two decades. What are you looking forward to about coming back to Australia to work with Melbourne’s NGV?

In NYC, it’s been a constant exploration. I’ve enjoyed a wonderful career as a photographer and got to meet and work with many very talented individuals and produce alluring imagery for major brands. I’ve also been able to create pop-up installations and produce community art projects and, more recently, explore this whole new tangent of design.

It’s such an honour to be invited by the NGV to a part of this event. I don’t know contemporary Melbourne too well, but I know it has a feeling of openness that I really love – room to breathe. I always stay in Fitzroy, an area which seems to have the best of what’s on offer in the contemporary urban landscape – a quirky sense of individuality and a keen eye for architectural preservation which I think is so important!

What will you be dedicating your time to post-Rigg?

Well… for starters, I’m going to be spending a lot more time in Australia which I’m super excited about…

Rigg Design Prize 2018
October 12th to February 29th, 2019
Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Level 3, Contemporary Art & Design
Federation Square, Victoria
Free entry

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

Martyn Thompson and Dove Drury Hornbuckle

The incredible SOHO loft of Australian photographer Martyn Thompson and artist Dove Drury Hornbuckle.

TDF Films

The Outlanders · Martyn Thompson

A window into the world of incredible Australian photographer and designer Martyn Thompson, who moved to New in 1999.

This Week

News

A Way For All Australians To Celebrate Robin Boyd's 100th

Australia Post releases a commemorative stamp acknowledging the seminal architect’s centenary.

News

Dinosaur Designs Releases An Earthy New Collection Today

The latest from the Australian-made homewares brand, inspired by the colours of the Australian desert.

Shopping

Morocco Meets Byron Bay In This Modern Bohemian Wonderland

A virtual visit to the rug and artisanal object treasure trove that is Tigmi Trading.
Elle Murrell

Small Business

How Can Your Business Give Back?

Steps you can take to make a positive impact through your workplace, with sage advice from the legends at Who Gives A Crap.
Fiona Killackey

News

A New Exhibition Of Raw, Gestural Works From Miranda Skoczek

One of Melbourne’s most collectible contemporary artists opens her first show of the year tomorrow.

Events

TDF Talks @Mercedes me, Round Two!

David Bromley, Peter Maddison, Paul West, and Justine Cullen in-conversation at Mercedes me – book now!

Food

Nutella, Sea Salt And Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Charlotte Ree's epic choc-chip cookie, with all the trimmings!
Charlotte Ree

Interiors

Karen McCartney's Dreamy, Rustic French Farmhouse

A dream European outpost for two of Australia’s most respected design aficionados! (And yes, it's available for holiday rental).

Homes

A Media Mogul's Inner City Oasis

The Fitzroy apartment of Melbourne power couple Nick Shelton and Catherine Graves.

Modernist Australia

This Corner-Block Mid-Century Classic Is For Sale

A modernist treasure that hasn't changed hands since the late 1960s!
Patricia Callan

Interiors

A Suitably Fashionable Home, From Two Brilliant Creatives

Interior designer/stylist extraordinaire Simone Haag revamps a Victorian Terrace in Armadale.
Miriam McGarry

News

Our Guide To The Biggest-Ever Melbourne Design Week

Australia’s creative capital transforms into a thriving design hub this March!
Sally Tabart

News

Local Artists And Designers Feature At This Brunswick East Craft Fete

Bringing back the neighbourhood vibe at this FREE one-day community event!

News

Klaylife's Dramatic New Range

Macrame and clay beads combine for a spectacular new collection of chandeliers.

Architecture

An Architect's Own Dream Home

Sally Wilson of sw-architects shows us around her newly renovated home in Woodville, South Australia.
Miriam McGarry

Similar Stories

Homes

Martyn Thompson and Dove Drury Hornbuckle

The incredible SOHO loft of Australian photographer Martyn Thompson and artist Dove Drury Hornbuckle.

TDF Films

The Outlanders · Martyn Thompson

A window into the world of incredible Australian photographer and designer Martyn Thompson, who moved to New in 1999.