Behind the Lens
London-based editor Martyn White invites you to his join him on the hunt for the best in luxury design
People don't talk about blogging as much as they used to—a consequence undoubtedly of the prominent role of social media in our digital lives today. But blogs around the globe are still attracting strong readership, because, when done right, they offer a richness lacking in the array of platforms, from TikTok to Twitter, that favor a specific kind of content over others. Blogs have the capacity to bring it all together in one personalized place, integrating photos, videos, and words to tell more expansive stories about a creator’s unique way of experiencing the world. For a prime example, look to martynwhite.london.
Driven to share his life-long passion for IRL well-designed spaces and the objects that make them extraordinary, Martyn White launched his eponymous website in 2014. There he’s built a high-resolution window onto his excursions near and far, online and off, as he explains, “on the hunt for the very best in #art #interiordesign and #luxurydesign.” Through the vivid mix of photos, videos, and words he posts, White has cultivated a dedicated audience, eager to see what he sees and partake in his joy of discovery.
White’s current digital footprint covers much more, however, fanning out in all directions to just about every one of those other more specialized social media platforms. His desire to document his journeys and reach new culture-consuming audiences has inspired him to master ways to convey his point of view across formats. Along the way, international design brands and studios took notice and began to invite White to apply his eye and digital prowess to their channels.
Scroll on for our interview with this London-based editor to learn more about how he’s succeeded in turning his passion project into a profession.
What is the elevator pitch that you use to encapsulate the work?
I have quite an eclectic and unusual job. Primarily, I work with design brands to discuss how they can best work with and utilize the wonderful world of social media, showcasing their work to reach the audiences in their industry. Alongside this, I photograph and write about art, interiors, and design in many of the world’s design hubs, with a mission to share my discoveries and the true meaning of luxury.
What path led you to this work?
I have a background in interior design and social media, and the two have merged. I love meeting designers to see, discuss, and experience their work. And I enjoy capturing it through my eye and sharing it with the world. Over time, I have been contacted by more designers and brands, which has led to where I am now.
What is unique about the way you see design, and how do you translate your way of seeing to others?
I almost feel that I see the world through a macro lens. It has been commented on quite a few times that I notice characteristics that might go unnoticed by others. I just love the weird and wonderful; things that challenge perceptions, push boundaries, and create conversations—which often arises from the finer details. I translate this best through my photography and videography. If I can capture something from an unusual angle, closer than usual, or even in a way that doesn’t give away the entire piece, I will. I feel that it helps to create intrigue but also shows the viewer that there may be something more than the eye sees at first glance.
Which of your skills are you most proud of and why?
I would say my open-mindedness. I do not let my first impressions define how I perceive something. I disliked some of my favorite works of design and art when I first discovered them. It was only when I unearthed a new detail or saw the piece from another angle that I started to fall in love with them.
What is your definition of luxury, and how has it changed over time?
Like many, I assumed that luxury translates into monetary value; if it’s expensive, it’s luxurious. Over time, I have understood that the expense is a byproduct of a truly luxurious design process—from the inspiration and concept to its application and, finally, the completed design. It could be the skills used to create a piece, sometimes passed down through generations, sometimes using a material that is difficult to source. I feel that, more often than not, the things that make a design luxurious tend to go unnoticed and are only exposed when missing.
In your view, what is the most important ingredient(s) needed to make a space feel phenomenal?
It has to be YOU. Do not use a color because it is trendy or buy an item because everyone else has it. Surround yourself with the things you love and tell your story—not someone else’s. I love it when you see people using an item in a way that wasn’t intended, purely because they love it and that’s the way they want to use it. When you sit back and smile while looking at an item in your home because it has a memory attached to it, that’s a little piece of yourself.
How do you choose the designers that you profile on your site? What is the thread that connects them in your mind?
I feel that the designers I have profiled have brought something to the table. They are very true to themselves, which is demonstrated in their designs. They have unique ways of understanding how a space works both physically and mentally or of challenging perceptions and pushing design forward. Exceptional designs arise from not following the rules, and I hope that many of the designers and projects I feature can demonstrate that in some way.
What is one of the most unexpected experiences you’ve had doing your work?
Honestly, to have a job that I enjoy doing every day. It started as a hobby, and it is still hard to process that people ask for my advice, read my work, and respond to my photography and content. I have the privilege to meet individuals who are so inspiring, and I just hope that I get to share that inspiration and their talents with as many people as possible.
Is there a place or object that you hope to photograph but haven’t had the chance yet?
I do have a little obsession with skyscrapers. I’d like to one day photograph them in unfamiliar ways. We usually see them on a skyline from afar or looking directly up at them from the street. But there are so many details—a decorative element or even a spire—that would go unrecognized if you were to capture them at a different scale or angle.
What’s next for you?
Now that it’s a little easier to travel again, I hope to showcase more designs from countries I have not yet visited, such as India, Australia, and Africa. I'd love the opportunity to look at these countries' design landscapes more closely and share what I find!
Thank you, Martyn! ◆
Follow Martyn White on Instagram at @martynwhitelondon.