International designer to the stars incorporates Caymanian elements in his work.
The Los Angeles-based interior designer whose celebrity clientele includes reality TV stars Kylie, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, has brought more than a hint of Hollywood glamour to the Cayman Islands.
Martyn Lawrence Bullard is the mastermind behind the “signature spaces” at The Residences at Seafire, which encompass the hallways, model units, lobby and rooftop terrace.
A multi award-winner, he has consistently been named as one of the world’s top 100 interior designers by Architectural Digest, featured permanently on Elle Décor’s A-List, and named one of the Top 25 designers by The Hollywood Reporter.
He is also well-known to television audiences as starring in the hit Bravo series Million Dollar Decorators and as host of Channel 4’s Hollywood Me in the U.K., along with many other design television programs in more than 65 countries.
While Martyn may be best known for designing homes for the stars (fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, singer Cher and actresses Ellen Pompeo and Eva Mendes are also on his books), he collaborates with hotels and restaurants around the world, too.
And in Grand Cayman, his work with The Residences at Seafire was inspired by the island’s heritage, culture and colors.
“To me, it is very important to not throw in my signature, but the signature of where we are, adding moments that really make you feel like you are here, giving a tropical flavor, but saying, ‘this is Cayman,’” he explains.
Martyn’s design aesthetic at Seafire is influenced by the textures of local crafts, including thatch-rope and woven baskets.
This is showcased in the furnishings in the signature spaces, and the basket-weave bar, which was the inspiration for the name of the private, owners’ rooftop terrace, The Nest.
“Some of the ancient crafts of the island, like basket-weaving or rope-making, were really important to add into the furnishings and even the textures,” he says. “The beautiful raffia that is on the walls, the rope-wrapped tables – even some of the tie-died fabrics – they have this beautiful Caribbean feel. But more importantly, they are really site-specific to Cayman and its amazing, colorful history.”
Martyn’s designs make bold use of tropical colors, such as bright reds and oranges for bedroom walls, while the textured wallpapers are interspersed with soothing blues and greens, reflecting the ocean and the greenery surrounding the Seafire property.
“The inspiration has been about finding the essence of this place,” he adds. “It really is magical. Here in Cayman, obviously we’re surrounded by this extraordinary turquoise water, these incredible vistas, these beautiful greens, so it was really important for me to bring some of that indoors.”
Martyn, who visited the island several times while working on Seafire, is even more enthralled by the fiery sun as it plunges into the sea in front of Seven Mile Beach each evening.
“When the sun comes down and hits that crystal-clear water, it is like watching a ball of fire go into the ocean at the end of the day,” he says. “I haven’t seen sunsets like this anywhere else.”
The designer, who has published two books giving a glimpse into his glamorous world of eclectic and sophisticated interiors, is also impressed by the design he has seen on-island.
“I find Cayman to be a really design-driven place,” he says. “It’s extraordinary because unlike many islands in and around the Caribbean, here we’ve got this incredible flavor for modern luxury. People really understand the mold of old and new here and it’s very evident in some of the architecture.”