María Santos made a childhood pastime into her passion. She founded her own studio in 2015 and, since then, has not stopped expanding and working on outstanding projects that ooze luxury and elegance. María prefers certain materials such as wood, stone, metals, linen and cotton to create light spaces without overlooking functionality. Spaces filled with energy that provide a sensation of distinctive light. Today she talks to The Decorative Surfaces about her career.
With what architectural style do you identify? Why?
I love the modus operandi of classical style thanks to how ancient craftmanship worked with architectural elements such as marquetry and moulding. I like being able to elegantly transfer all this influence to a contemporary setting without overlooking the freshness provided by modernity.
Who have been your role models?
I remember my childhood links to interior design: I used to love going to different antique and furniture shops with my mother and selecting fabrics, meaning she was a role model for me. Currently, I admire influences from different interior designers: I really like the French designer Joseph Dirand for his way of updating the classics; and in Spain, I like the highly personal touch of Isabel López Quesada.
What project are you proudest of?
There are several projects that a marked a turning point in my career. The studio’s first major commission was Núñez de Balboa. I am especially proud of it since it was my first project, and you can already clearly see elements of the studio’s current style. The years go by and I continue to feel a major connection to it, which is a good sign since we constantly seek out to create timeless spaces.
How do you represent what your clients need in your designs?
One of our values is active listening:listening to our clients’ tastes before starting the project andletting them tell us the story of where we will be working really helps to create that magic. Luckily, we have clients that welcome advice and trust us.
How do you incorporate materials such as quartz or marble in your designs? What elements do you combine them with?
We always combine them with other natural materials, such as wood and metals. Stone is a key element in our ongoing search for timeless spaces; it ages really well which means that houses do not go out of style, they just get better over time.
Have you noticed any change in your projects since lockdown and through these difficult times?
It’s true that we had to reinvent ourselves during lockdown, but it’s also true that we could make progress on the projects we were working on from our homes. After lockdown, we noticed higher demand. Having been confined at home has made us all want to improve where we live to feel the energy that a home truly deserves. This may be one of the reasons why we are receiving commissions not only for renovations (our strength) but also for decoration. We all want to feel better at home.
What would the project of your dreams be? Let your imagination run wild!
My ideal project would be a home that tells a story, where there is more to preserve than to ditch: an old home with character to reshape with as much care as it was built. And, especially, a client who gets it!