London, United Kingdom
New York, New York
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi
Auckland, New Zealand
In its inaugural launch of 30/30 (Thirty Under Thirty) Los Angeles, Interior Design–known for its global, industry-leading print and digital publications–invited Woods Bagot Los Angeles Project Leader, Mariel Mora Llorens, to join their exclusive fellowship.
The program, which recognizes the top 30 designers under the age of 30 in major cities across the U.S., creates a forum for the selected designers to learn, discuss, and explore new skill sets. The overarching goal of 30/30 is to provide learning opportunities to help the next generation of designers advance their professional knowledge, while providing them with inspiration to continue to excel.
About Mariel Mora Llorens
I joined Woods Bagot in the fall of 2022 as a Project leader. I am a New York licensed architect and Project Leader and I’m currently involved in the concept design of the interiors of a mixed use commercial building. Throughout my 7 years of professional experience in the architecture industry I have worked on a wide range of projects including Institutional, hospitality and mixed use projects. I graduated from Syracuse University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. Prior to moving to LA in 2021, I worked as an architect at Ennead Architects.
While I was there I focused on design technology leadership and establishment of project workflows for all phases of design and documentation.
Throughout my career, I’ve been fascinated by adaptive reuse projects and the power they have to bring new life to structural and culturally complex sites. I’ve had the great pleasure to work on some of the most highly regarded adaptive reuse projects in the US. While living in New York, I worked on the TWA Hotel at JFK, a historic Eero Saarinen design airport terminal and the transformation of the Newseum in Washington DC to a John Hopkins University Campus building. I also worked on the schematic design of 9600 Wilshire, the adaptive reuse of Paul William’s Saks 5th Store in Beverly Hills. Each project has a unique sense of place and identity. Through spatial reconfiguration and material interventions, the repurposing of these buildings has the ability to bring to life the communities around them.
Congratulations on your 30 under 30 honor by Interior Design Magazines Los Angeles! Can you tell us about your experience with the program?
It is an incredible honor to be part of such a diverse and talented group of designers. When it comes to interior design, I like to blur the lines between the building’s interior and exterior to create cohesive public driven projects. I am originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Growing up in a tropical climate with a diverse cultural and architectural history gave me a unique perspective into indoor-outdoor living. I find that the implementation of material narratives help merge these boundaries and celebrate a building’s interaction with the public realm. I feel fortunate to be given the opportunity to share my experiences and passions amongst diverse talents in the program!
Can you tell us about experience working in the architecture & design industry especially in a global market?
Recently, I find myself getting involved in a variety of small design exercises. I had been looking for ways to be creative outside of the traditional roles of architecture that involve other disciplines. The pandemic gave me the push I needed to start developing my ideas. From furniture design to photography and branding, I’ve explored the ways I can integrate the design skills we develop as architects with other disciplines. Most recently I’ve been studying concrete and modular building techniques for tropical climates with my partner. We are developing molds to build customizable breeze blocks. Through some of these design and material explorations I’ve come to have a better understanding of the importance of vernacular architecture in adapting to the local climate and culture. I find it fascinating to collaborate and share knowledge with other members of the design community both here in LA and Puerto Rico.
If you could give advice to anyone, especially young women, looking up into a similar field career path, what advice would you give?
I would first advise that you find your reason for why architecture is important to you. You should begin by identifying the aspect of the built environment that fascinates you and use that to drive your design thinking. I’ve always been fascinated by the way architecture and the built environment have the power to transform those who occupy them. Back in 2016, I wrote my architecture thesis on the way architecture embodies traumatic memories and aids in the process of conscious forgetting. Cities are the theaters of our memories. As Christine Boyer, author of The City of Collective Memory Wrote “Memories always unfold in space, for when memories could not be located in the social space of a group, then remembrance would fail. The activity of recollection must be based on spatial reconstruction.” I find this topic as relevant today as I did 7 years ago. Our dynamic global cities are constantly changing by both natural events and manmade disasters. They are sometimes no longer recognizable. As architects, we have the ability to help determine the future of our cities and incorporate the most valuable elements of our past. I strive to work on projects that integrate the collective and dynamic aspects of our cities.
Always be your best advocate. It is sometimes easy to forget the power of our voices. As women, we are constantly being challenged to confront archaic norms of society that try to dictate what roles we should play. It is easy to lose one’s point of focus. For that reason, it is important to find women that inspire you and make the effort to connect with them. They will be key figures in your professional development.
Don’t be afraid to challenge and be challenged. The best ideas come out of debate and critical thinking. I find this to be extremely important when working in diverse climates of socio-cultural backgrounds. All of these factors are important in an architect’s professional development but overall, it is most important to enjoy the journey. It is easy to forget that when you are involved in the day-to-day challenges of our profession.
“Always be your best advocate. It is sometimes easy to forget the power of our voices …
It is important to find women that inspire you and make the effort to connect with them. They will be key figures in your professional development.”
To get in touch with Mariel Mora Llorens, contact us here. Follow the link for more information on Woods Bagot’s Los Angeles Studio.
Stay tuned for more stories celebrating women leading the way in the architecture & design industry, groundbreaking projects and celebrating #EmbraceEquity for International Women’s Day.
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