London-based designer Martin Brudnizki has won acclaim for his portfolio of restaurant interiors in the UK; his projects include the Club at the Ivy, Scott's at the Mayfair, Dean Street Townhouse, and several of Jamie Oliver's restaurants. More recently, he has begun to make his mark on the New York restaurant scene with Le Caprice (which opened in the Pierre Hotel last year) and Betel in the West Village. Brudnizki's multinational upbringing (he was raised in Sweden by a German mother and a Polish father) has enabled him to move easily between cultures and styles. He's designed a tikki bar at the Soho House Miami, a Thai restaurant in the West Village, and a clubby London fish restaurant—and all have a respectable sense of place. I recently had tea with Brudnizki in New York and asked him about his inspirations and design philosophy.
RM: Can you tell us about your design process for Soho Beach House Miami?
Brudnizki: I was inspired by the region, by the influences of Cuba and South America. We wanted something raw and real, which tends to be a stark contrast from the current South Beach design perspective.
RM: What is your favorite restaurant in London?
Brudnizki: I love Scott's in Mayfair. I sit at the bar, read the papers, and order the freshest oysters and Dover sole. For everyday dining, I like the Pig's Ear in Chelsea and Côte near my home.
RM: And in New York?
Brudnizki: For simple decor and the most fantastic sushi, I go to Sushi of Gari on the Upper West Side.
RM: What is your favorite hotel in New York?
Brudnizki: The Mercer.
RM: Where did you last go on holiday?
Brudnizki: Sardinia. I stayed at a lovely hotel called Hotel Cala Caterina.
RM: We know that you consider lighting to be a crucial element in the success of a restaurant. Do you
have a favorite light fixture?
Brudnizki: I adore the chandelier in the entrance of the Club at the Ivy in London. I found it in an antique shop, looking very tired and needing attention. I fixed it up and now it's a real feature of the club—after all, it hangs at 5.4 meters long.
RM: What's the most recent purchase you made for your own home?
Brudnizki: I bought some bold Josef Frank cushions from Svenskt Tenn in Stockholm.
RM: What is your favorite home furnishings store in London?
Brudnizki: Fiona McDonald has some amazing antique pieces. I stop in often to check out the new wares.
RM: What is your favorite everyday cutlery?
Brudnizki: Wright from Crate & Barrel (above L).
RM: What is your favorite historical building?
Brudnizki: I have many favorite buildings, but one that stands out is the Chrysler building in Manhattan.