Maria’s extensive experience in interior design and project management ensures a smooth transition from concept design through to project completion. adi Studio has over 15 years’ experience acting as a consultant providing holistic design-led solutions for both the exteriors and interiors of buildings. Maria has designed and completed a broad spectrum of projects in Ireland and the UK, with a large range of concept and built work undertaken for international clients. From small residential projects, to large resort hotels and multi-million pound master planning schemes, the practice brings its unique commercial experience and skill to suit each individual project, market and location.
Maria’s career began following a degree in Spatial Design, being awarded a first class honours in Interior and Furniture Design at DIT. Since then she has held a position as an associate for OBK in Dublin, moving on to become a founding director in The Kaye Rice Partnership. Her areas of expertise include bar, restaurant, hotel, retail and office design.
Maria has provided Inex with an insight into her perception of the interior design industry, how she has landed in her current position, her love of design and her presence in the interior design industry.
Q. Please can you give us a brief history of your professional background?
Born and bred in Dublin, Ireland, and still living here, I graduated in 1998 from DIT, Dublin, completing my degree in Environmental & Spatial Design and majoring in Interior Design. Luckily for me it was the beginning of the ‘Boom’ years when I graduated so there was plenty of work in my field. I worked with Dublin based architectural and design firms for the first few years and then set up my own company with another designer in 2004. I have been self employed ever since.
Q. What inspired you to become an interior designer?
I was born a creative creature! I had a passion for art in school and was interested in the area of architecture. Interior Design seemed to capture both of those elements.
Q. Who has been your greatest influence?
The people around me influence me the most.
Q. What is your most regarded professional achievement?
Being a successful self-employed woman, a mother and a creative person are a few of my most rewarding achievements. Working on large commercial projects and being successful enough to maintain the same clients for many years is also a great professional achievement of mine.
Q. What is your signature style?
Very often design studios have signature styles that they produce for every project and are renowned for their style. I don’t have a signature style. As a design team, we create a scheme that is right for each individual project.
Q. What do you value most about the design industry?
I love being able to get up in the morning and enjoy doing what I love, being creative and being surrounded by creative people.
Q. Which commercial project are you most proud of and why?
We worked on the refurbishment of a ruined castle, Lough Eske Castle Hotel in Donegal. We rejuvenated the hotel into a 5 star country house hotel, which was one of the most enjoyable projects I have worked on. The client, budget and operators all worked well together, which made it a pleasant experience for us.
Q. In your view, what has been the greatest influence in the evolution of the design sector?
I feel that the use of CAD has been the greatest influence. When I started out as a designer we drew everything by hand and used tracing paper, T-squares, set squares, compasses and blades to scrape out mistakes! It was a long process but we had a lot longer to design projects.
Q. In your career, which piece of advice have you benefited most from?
The greatest piece of advice I have benefited from is that if you are true to your own creative sense and if you are passionate about what you do, you will do well.
Q. How does your team work together?
We are a small tightly run design team. We have design meetings every day to go through the different project schemes, which allows us to work together and bounce ideas off of one another.
Q. Is there a particular project you aspire to work on and why?
I love working on heritage properties, there is usually so much from its history to draw on for inspiration.
Q. Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future?
I love working with passionate people. I think someone like Sir Richard Branson would be cool to collaborate with on something.
adi’s most recent hotel project, the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool – a Grade II listed brick warehouse – is in one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Stanley Dock, Liverpool; a high profile project in the North of the country. adi Studio worked to create a scheme that not only enhanced the spectacular historic shell but has also been described as being “a showcase for future historical refurbishments”. adi Studio was commissioned to provide the interior design scheme for 153 spacious bedrooms, the reception lounge, bar/restaurant, conference centre and vaulted spa. Bespoke furniture pieces were fashioned from reclaimed wooden wedges salvaged from the site and finished with black metal and glass. The eclectic vintage styled fabrics provide splashes of colour and also project the notion that this room – like the building – has evolved over many years. The interiors concept by adi Studio enhanced the existing building by the use of bespoke furniture, lighting and artwork.