“I love print, I love pattern, I love colour, I love joy…” La DoubleJ founder JJ Martin talks life, laughter and lighting up your home
Describe an average day in your life.
I wake up and meditate, do my invocations and my prayers,then feed the dog and take her to the park, which gets me into nature first thing. Doing this intention-setting is really instrumental for me. After my dog walk I might do yoga or Pilates, then ideally I like to dedicate the morning to my spiritual writing, but it doesn’t always happen. Whether I am in the office or travelling, I start meeting after meeting with my different teams. I don’t usually eat lunch at a restaurant, I like to make my own lunch of vegetables and brown rice. At 3.30 pm every day I do another meditation for 10 minutes, max, to break up the day. More meetings in the afternoon, and then I like to get some sort of exercise. In the evening I love to entertain at home and host my friends for aperitivo or dinner.
What is your favourite room in the house?
My meditation room. I have a room that is technically a bedroom with no furniture except for an altar and a bookshelf.I had the whole room painted midnight blue and the ceiling painted in a star constellation with gold leaf by a friend of mine who specializes in fresco work to replicate the Byzantine churches in Ravenna. I am crazy about Byzantine art and Italian churches, especially Sicilian baroque. This is like having my own temple space in the home, the place where I have my morning practice, yoga, meditation, and where I lead energy healing groups. It feels like a space that’snot asking anything of me and is there to give me something.
What are your most treasured art works?
The wallpaper in the dining room is actually an art work painted and designed by the artist Kirsten Synge based on some collages that I found in Bali. I gave them to the artist and she created this incredible reinterpretation of it. Then we printed that on to paper and had it custom designed for the space in my dining room. It is the most joyful, exuberant pattern and colour play — she even added my dog in the corner of the design. It is sort of like the room itself has been surrounded in artwork.
Where do you like to shop for your house?
For bar glasses I love Hermès — they do these etched glasses that are great for cocktails. I get pots and pans from All-clad, which weigh a ton and are so hefty they make you feel like you are a legitimate cook. I’m really excited about LaDoubleJ’s new collection of hand-blown striped glass vases made in Murano which I place around the white surfaces in my apartment for an easy pop of color. For nasetti are the ultimate for candles.
Do you collect anything?
I’m crazy about vintage jewellery, which I display on my bathroom wall, and vintage chairs and glass objects. I’m not looking for fancy pedigree pieces, I literally just look for shapes that are very unique.
Where do you eat at home?
Surrounded by the artwork in my dining room with Pepper, my pug. Since I’m from California, a salad with lots of ingredients is my go-to dish. An Italian salad tends to be just lettuce and olive oil if you’re lucky. My family thing is to bring out a salad that is super flavourful and packed with loads of ingredients like avocado, orange, toasted pine nuts, red onion, feta and fresh dill.
If you could have a home anywhere where would that be?
The island of Pantelleria is the dream but I am also scoping regions of Sicily. My goal is to find an old convent and turn it into a retreat centre — it needs to have a view,water, we need caves too, so it’s a tall order. I would also live in a tree house in Bali tomorrow.
What items hold the most memories?
I’d say the items in my Meditation Room and on my altar hold the most memories for me. Those are charged up with a lot of meaning and personal significance. Energetically, emotionally, spiritually — whether it’s crystals, certain shamanic tools or images of important figures in my life and beyond. I have some really special sacred objects from my two trips through Egypt this year.
What has been your career highlight to date?
It’s almost impossible to pin it down to one thing. Knowing that today we are a totally profitable, privately held company with 65 employees is a great source of pride as we’re still such a young company. That organizations like Altagamma are recognizing us with design awards, and big global brands like Acqua di Parma, Kartell, La Durée and The Socialite Family are coming to us to collaborate with them. This year we got to completely redesign the lounge space of Lake Como’s most luxurious hotel,Passalacqua. I never imagined I would have a company that would have that recognition and profile, it’s so exciting.
Describe your style?
Piled-on joy! It’s really a reflection of my inner world of creativity, which is quite unconventional in the sense that I love wackiness and playfulness and then I love sober seriousness. Let’s just say, I put things together that most people wouldn’t put together.That’s what I do at my company, La Double J—the ingredients are unusual.
What is your definition of ‘style’?
The true mark of style is finding your own imprint and not being sanctioned by anyone else. Sometimes I’m wacky, sometimes I’m woo woo, sometimes I’m extremely sophisticated—it’s all very feeling-based.
What are your can’t – live -without La DoubleJ clothing essentials?
If you’re in Milan, you can’t wear trainers and sweatpants—this is not a dressed down city, even the women on bicycles wear their Prada skirts and kitten heels. The Milanese scuire [wealthy women] have amazing outer wear so our new printed Milano Trench Coat is an absolute essential for everything from my dog walking schlep to Bar Basso cocktails. The Swing Dress was our first ever design for La Double J and I still love it because it is such a versatile wardrobe piece. Weddings, cocktails, work—I’ve worn it everywhere.
Vintage jewellery has always been my thing—a big necklace or piles of chunky bracelets—but nowadays I don’t leave the house without our Soul Pendant necklace.It has a big square Rose Quartz stone at its centre, which is a fiercely feminine stone associated with the heart and throat chakra and drenched in healing properties. I like to keep it close to my heart.
Which brands do you love?
1970s-era Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar De La Renta because they both had this incredible blend of romanticism, femininity and glamour, as well as optimism and joy with their colours and prints. That’s a hard combination!
What is the last thing you bought?
A pair of Chloé boots with built in socks. Shop the new collection
- Interview by Sophia Serin