Our Senior Art Curator, Martin Kranz, is the epitome of the modern dandy in many ways. A touch of fashion with a trace of rebellion, his taste in apparel is as sophisticated as it is unique—think slim-fitted, black Chinos with black Merino sweaters and an elegant, silver bracelet from a street vendor in Jaisailmer, India.
We paid a visit to his abode, overlooking the Berlin neighbourhood of Kreuzberg, and were delighted to discover that the rumours are true: Yes, his home is in fact, as chic and impeccable as his wardrobe—a classic couch paired with a contemporary armchair; a trendy, industrial lamp and an out of the ordinary set of glassware; an antique, wooden surface covered by lush, potted plants. What better way to pay tribute to his self-proclaimed weakness for eye-catching décor than an entire spread dedicated to his timeless interior.
A place called home
In late 2016, Martin and his girlfriend Anvita decided to face Berlin’s tougher-than-steel housing market and set up house together. Several months, countless online searches, a dozen viewings and a couple of irresolute applications later, the duo stepped inside a newly-renovated penthouse near Südstern in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Greeted by stellar views of the city, an obnoxiously large rooftop terrace and elegant oak floorboards, it took all of five minutes for both to be sure that this was ‘the one’. They hastily sealed the deal and in early 2017, Martin and Anvita moved into their new flat.
By autumn, not only had they made great strides in getting settled, but they also delightedly welcomed Mingus, a puppy adopted from a shelter in Spain, to join their pack. Calm, collected and dressed in (almost) all black, Mingus and Martin take ‘like owner, like dog’ to a whole new level.
Black (with a splash of white) is Martin’s happy colour
From Rose Quartz to Greenery to Ultra Violet, some people’s colour palettes change quicker than you can say Pantone. But, as is the case with most die-hard dandies, Martin doesn’t run off and redecorate every season, simply because got his hands on a copy of Architectural Digest. Nope, in Martin’s life, monochrome is a lifestyle, and in his home, his love for the absence of colours comes forth in many shapes and forms.
He elaborates, “I deliberately stuck to a black and white colour scheme with a lot of solid wood furniture to add a more organic and warm feel to our interior. The result is homogeneous and harmonious. What does add colour to our home, aside from carefully selected wall art, is the many plants. I bought them not because I like green things, but because I love all things plant-related.” Our personal favourite? The black and white wall art composition above the sofa in the couple’s living room.
In JUNIQE language, Martin’s colourless mission translates to ‘turning one’s attention inwards’. So take a leaf out of his book and ask yourself the question ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, what hues do I think are the most beautiful of them all?’
Past or present, it’s about the balance
Before coming to JUNIQE, Martin did a fair bit of globetrotting. Aside from growing up in Germany and studying in the Netherlands, he also spent a whopping seven years in India running his own furniture business, ‘I’d say I’m more ‘cosmopolitan’ than considering myself part of any nationality. I feel more at home in some parts of India than I’d ever feel in Bavaria.’ Today, his worldly experiences subtly weave their way in and out of the rooms in his flat. A vase here, a candlestick there—nostalgia à la Martin means carefully selecting collectibles from far-off places. You don’t have to know him personally to pick up on his cinephile tendencies or his penchant for mid-century art and design.
Near and far, old and new—never hesitate to combine contrasts in the decorating department. Indeed, the perfect pair isn’t always about sticking to a single style or following a specific trend, it’s about putting the pieces of the puzzle together in aesthetic, and perhaps, slightly unconventional or delightfully unexpected ways.
A change of scenery
As the proud owner of enough wall art to decorate his entire building, Martin swaps out the posters on his walls for fresh prints whenever the mood strikes him. Rummaging through his collection of rolled up artworks, he proudly presented some of his favourites to us—a Thai version of Superman, something that looks like it was taken off the cover of a raunchy German ‘70s porn movie, a huge poster of Iggy Pop from an Eleven Paris campaign, and a handful of photography from some of his favourite JUNIQE artists, which include Pale Grain and Shot by Clint. The act of refreshing the wallscapes in Martin’s home is frequently followed by a healthy dose of rearranging and relocating his many potted plants.
The art of enjoyment is all about having the confidence to move things around from time to time. New day, new mood—start your own collection, featuring all your favourite prints and pieces, by keeping some safely stowed away under the sofa—to be taken out and artfully arranged, and rearranged, at will. Because, when your life looks dandy, there is no such thing as too much transformation.
So what, in a nutshell, did we learn from our little excursion into Martin’s secret box of art treasures? Well, it may be the clothes that make the man, but it’s the sophisticated combination of taste and stories that make the dandy man’s style stand out amongst the masses. The next time you go looking for cool posters, perhaps do a little digging into your past, and think about what times, places and moments have had an impact on your life. Take every decorating decision with a stride and place your trust in your taste. And remember, always stay true to yourself, there really isn’t an art to it.
A curator through and through
At JUNIQE Martin heads the curatorial team, which means he is responsible for selecting the artists we work with and curating any and all artworks we sell. In close collaboration with co-founder Sebastian Hasebrink, Martin (and team) recently launched one of our biggest projects of 2017: JUNIQE Wall Art Sets. Looking back on the year, he reminisces, ‘This was certainly one of the most challenging and exciting projects we’ve faced on the creative front since our founding. With thousands of designs to choose from and 13 styles to cover, working our way through our seemingly endless catalogue, and pulling out prints that can be put together and sold in arrangements, made us step up our curatorial game big time.’
The result? Our wall art sets can be filtered by style, room, colour & quantity of artworks so that you can find the set that’s right for you. And so, whether you’re a modern dandy or more of a new romantic, whether you love shades of summer or country living, thanks to Martin & company, you can now buy statement pieces, perfect pairs and arrangements that will forever brighten up your walls and breathe life into your home.
Text: Maia Frazier