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

01:01:05

Podcast

TDF Talks With Chef-Turned-Sustainable-Farmer Paul West

A surprisingly hilarious chat with the River Cottage Australia host, covering his atypical career path, and his philosophies on living a mor...

Art

'Mirka For Melbourne' Fundraiser Exhibition Opens At Heide

Mirka for Melbourne' opens this week, showcasing important acquisitions from the studio of Mirka Mora, funded by your donations!

Architecture

A Thoroughly Tactile Terrace

Bringing new light and life to a narrow North Fitzroy home, with Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

Carving Out A New Career With Courtney Petley

The New Zealand based designer and maker shares her handcrafted kitchen utensils, created with reclaimed timber.
Miriam McGarry

Dream Job

From Intern to Senior Landscape Designer – Growing A Career At Eckersley Garden Architecture

26-year-old Joshua Cocks charts his journey from University intern to working across award-winning projects, with one of Australia's top fir...
Elle Murrell

Food

Alice Zaslavsky's Gefilte Fish Fritters

There’s no Passover dish that sparks more of a reaction than gefilte fish, so today we share the perfect 'gateway' recipe!
Alice Zaslavsky

Art

Charting A Contemporary Artist’s Remarkable Oeuvre

Spanning almost four decades, Rosslynd Piggott’s ‘I sense you but I cannot see you’ is on now at NGV.
Elle Murrell

News

Free To Feed’s Annual Fundraising Bake Sale Is On This Friday!

Do something GREAT this Good Friday and help raise funds for a worthy cause!
Sally Tabart

Architecture

A Spectacular Unfolding House Overlooking Sydney Harbour

A minimalist marvel with serious harbour views, by Matthew Woodward Architecture in Vaucluse, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

News

The Bold And Brilliant Exhibition ‘Fashioning Black Identity’

African and African diaspora fashion, photography and portraiture at Cairns Art Gallery.
Miriam McGarry

TDF Collect

Announcing Our Next Exhibition, Elizabeth Barnett's 'Blue'

A new body of work from Macedon artist Elizabeth Barnett, opening Saturday April 27th at our Collingwood gallery.

Homes

A Family Rental With Real Heart

The Caufield Californian bungalow of interior designer Sara Levitas, her Rabbi husband Noam, and family.

Architecture

Hello 2019 Victorian Architecture Awards Shortlist

Celebrating design longevity with the State’s top residential architecture projects.
Elle Murrell

News

Ebony Truscott's Modern Day Masterpieces

A stunning exhibition of still-life paintings on now in Collingwood.
Sally Tabart

News

WIN $500 To Spend At The New Australian HAY Online Store!

You could win $500 to spend at this just-launched e-shop for the Danish design icons, thanks to Cult!

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.