Martin Brudnizki Design Studio :: January 2016

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We are in the blog & in-house magazine for Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS). Founded by interior architect Martin Brudnizki in 2000. Established in London, MBDS set-up a New York design practice in 2012 and currently employs over 70 staff between its two locations. Known for bringing a lived-in-luxurious feel to high-glamour projects, MBDS is responsible for designing some of the world’s most celebrated interiors, including The Ivy, Soho Beach House Miami, Scott’s and Cecconi’s West Hollywood and has received notable recognition, including accolades from Wallpaper*, Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar and the European Hotel Design Awards.

You started crafting globes when your search for a gift became fruitless. Had you any previous experience in crafting globes at all? Or was this like delving into unexplored waters? 

They were completely unexplored waters, I mean only a handful of people in the world alive today have previous experience crafting globes so there wasn’t even anyone to turn to. It was a frustrating but enjoyable way to start a profession.

How many people work in your Stoke Newington studio? Do you train them in the art of globe making or are they already trained? 

There is Jon, Kirsty and I making the globes, Isis and new to the team Alex who together do all the painting, and then we have an apprentice, Sam, training and Leonardo who does the woodwork and metalwork for the bases. We then have many other freelancers. Our metal bases are made using the lost-wax method off site and are then finished in our studio; our engraver hand-engraves all the bases with personal messages, Josh drives and hand delivers all large globe orders in the UK and Europe (!) and of course a couple people who have to spend a lot of time behind computers; Red in accounts and Jade doing all the social media and the sales with me.

(c) Andrew Meredith, Bellerby Globemakers

It would be next to impossible to find someone trained in the art of globe-making so I find talented artists who are passionate about the craft and hope everything works out. After a few months, some people find it just isn’t something their hands are capable of. Also, it takes a very patient person as the work is slow and has to be very precise. All our staff started as apprentices with a minimum of six months training; that is, six months of trying to make a small globe every day and then throwing away their hard work at the end of each day, starting over the next.

(c) Jade Fenster, Bellerby Globemakers

Has your interest in globes stemmed from a love of geography? Or from creating beautiful objects? 

I think I enjoyed working with my hands to create something beautiful and unique. The style of globes we make are much more works of art than a geography tool; I love that I learn something new every day when it comes to crafting, woodwork, metalwork, glues, paints, resins etc.

I always loved geography but when it comes down to it the profession and passion are not entirely related. People who come to work for us tend to have a love of traditional craftsmanship, design and a desire for a job that takes them away from a computer screen and has them working with their hands all day.

Personally, if the public response had not been so positive in the first year I am sure I would have stopped with making just one for myself and one for my father. We have customers coming to us who have been searching for a well-made modern globe for 30, 40 years, it really is inspiring!

(c) Cydney Cosette, Bellerby Globemakers

How long does it take to create a globe? Does only one designer work on it at a time?

It take between a few weeks and a few months depending on the size of the globe, the style of the base and how much added personalisation and detail the customer has requested. Each globe is made in stages that only fit one pair of hands, apart from the 127cm Churchill which requires both me and Jon together to lay each gore.

The bases can be worked on while the globe is being made of course, and due to needed drying time between stages we can luckily multi-task and work on a few orders at once.

(c) Andrew Meredith, Bellerby Globemakers

There is no official organisation for the creation of maps or globes, how do you keep ahead of the game in terms of boundaries moving or names changing? 

We certainly have to study and stay up to date! You’re right, there is no official organisation that actually charts geographical changes for maps and globes, so we have to research things to stay very well informed. Quite a lot of the tiny islands will change frequently; places like Canada and Australia rename things a lot, as well. Or, for instance, President Obama recently renamed Mount McKinley in Alaska to Denali. Unless you’re making globes, you probably wouldn’t care much, luckily Jade spends time daily in the Twitter-sphere and googling the latest news.

Are there certain areas of the world with difficult details? For example, particularly detailed borders or minute islands?

All the coastlines require attention to detail but the islands are particularly tricky indeed. Isis says Canada (you forget it has so many islands) and the Philippines are her least favourite to paint! Alex has just started, we’ll ask him at the end of the year!

(c) Tom Bunning, Bellerby Globemakers

Where is the best place a globe has been sent to? Or what is your favourite type of globe to make?

We have one we are making this year which is going to a private island (which didn’t exist on our map) with only one household on it.. I wish I could tell you more…

Our globes are in some fantastic places on every continent in the world apart from Antarctica. That is such an amazing feeling as a young company.

Do you make different kind of globes, for example celestial or colonial?

We make each globe to order so we have undertaken commissions of all sorts. We regularly make bespoke globes for the artist Yinka Shonibare that are everything but traditional world globes. The Celestial Globe is part of our permanent collection, the illustrations are all hand-drawn by a local London artist. We are currently working on a commission of Pangea and a large commission for the Louvre museum in Paris which might see us offering mini versions of the large globe they are having us create.

Do you ever get an overwhelming sense of wanderlust when working with maps every day?

Yes definitely but it is not as romantic as you make it sound. After spending six hours straight editing cartography with my eyes fixed on a computer screen I do have the urge to go running into the sunset. But really our whole team is well travelled and always planning their next adventure, wanting to see and experience more.

You can’t help but think about your place in the world and where you have yet to explore, tracing your finger over the globe to visualise the travel path. We are a diverse group to start with, we’ve got an Italian, an American, a Brazilian, but we all get a kick out of noticing new places on the map and researching them.

(c) Allun Callender, Bellerby Globemakers

Finally, where is your next holiday to? 

I am taking the whole team to Barcelona in a few months. At the start of January we were booked through to August with orders, we all needed something in the diary that ensured we got away from the studio for a few days on the trot.

I was just in Mexico City over the Christmas / New Year’s holiday and I’m not sure I can book anything too extravagant until I catch up with orders. When I feel I can justify it; next on the list is either Sri Lanka or Peru… or Cuba.. or Northern India. It’s hard to decide!

(c) Cydney Cosette, Bellerby Globemakers

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Bellerby & Co Globemakers

Bellerby & Co Globemakers; Creators of high quality, beautiful handmade world globes. Combining traditional techniques with pioneering design. Handcrafted terrestrial and celestial globes in London. We create models of many sizes and styles, and offer a bespoke service.

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