The Design Questionnaire With Mary Maydan of Maydan Architects
In this edition of Love Happens’ Design Questionnaire, join us for a peek into the creative mind of Mary Maydan, principal and founder of Maydan Architects. Born in Tel Aviv, Mary is a goddess of modern design.
Before making her mark on the design industry, Mary was the U.S. Correspondent of Globes, the largest and oldest financial newspaper in Israel. During this period, she lived in New York City and interviewed some of the most inspiring figures of our time. After meeting her husband and moving to Silicon Valley, the couple bought their first home, and Mary fell head over heels in love with home design.
In 2004 Mary founded her Palo Alto, California-based boutique architecture and interior design firm, immediately gaining notoriety with her design of an ultra-modern residence. A project which defined her as a leader in minimalistic contemporary architecture. Read on to meet Mary Maydan and be inspired by her beautiful designs!
Meet Mary Maydan of Maydan Architects in the Lh Design Questionnaire
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is when all of my kids are home (the older ones on break from their universities) and all four get along with each other and don’t fight.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I think that my greatest achievement is in helping to lead the trend of modern architecture in Silicon Valley. When I started designing residences in Palo Alto in the early 2000s, Silicon Valley was leading the world in terms of innovation, shining as an early adopter in everything but architecture. People loved French chateaus and Spanish mansions, Tuscan was the height of style, and arches were a status symbol. The consensus was that modern design was suitable for office buildings but that no one would be interested in living in a modern home.
I wholeheartedly believed in the beauty of modern architecture and that it would be a perfect fit for our area and context. I was convinced that people would fall in love with the style once they were introduced. At the time, I didn’t even think it was brave to go against the stream. I was just passionate about my architecture. In hindsight, I can see how bold it was to expect people to turn 180 degrees and find beauty in something that they were so used to thinking of as cold and office-like. I am proud that I was loyal to my vision which established our firm as a leader of a new trend and defined our niche—minimalistic contemporary architecture.
On a personal level, my greatest achievement is my four amazing kids. I have always tried to be a full-time mom while having a full-time career. I like to be the one picking them up from school and hearing all about their day. When they have an important story to share, I can’t tell them: “Let’s talk about it at dinner,” because by dinnertime, they would forget all about it. So I take a break from work for a few hours to be with my kids and then work more hours late at night when the house is quiet and no one needs me. I’m lucky and grateful that my work enables this flexibility.
What profession does your alter ego have?
I would definitely be a journalist. In my previous career, I was a writer and specialized in feature stories. It
was truly a privilege to meet inspiring people and get a chance to ask them questions and learn about
them. I love to write, and I am so curious. When I meet people that fascinate me, I don’t even notice that I
slip back into interviewing mode.
The project you will never forget.
I will never forget my first project. The focal point was a spectacular winding staircase. At the time, we
couldn’t find anyone to fabricate the staircase locally at an even remotely reasonable price. We had it
made overseas and shipped to the U.S. The contractor left the roof open, and the 2-ton-steel staircase
was lowered into the building with two cranes, carefully staying clear of the 18’ tall glass wall behind the
staircase. In hindsight, I think that it was a bold move to design and spec such a staircase as a beginner.
Your favorite business tool or resource.
Instagram and Pinterest. Since they focus on imagery, they are wonderful platforms to follow for design
The most timeless design.
Timeless design is precise, avoids the unnecessary, and is elegant and unapologetic. Mies Van Der Rohe’s Pavilion in Barcelona is timeless. It’s an inspiring building that epitomizes the essence of minimalism and spatial sophistication.
The biggest design faux pas.
Buildings that are designed with the goal of being noticed and shouting their presence. Buildings that don’t consider first and foremost the people that will use them.
Your design motto.
The architect is not the important part in the story.
Our publisher KOKET makes statement décor; if you were to design a room around one KOKET piece, which would it be, and why?
I would pick the Tayma chair or one of the other armchairs in Koket’s collection. Hopefully, the client would agree to go with a bold color, so it becomes the piece that makes the room.
Love Happens when…
the reality supersedes your dream.
Explore more by Mary Maydan and Maydan Architects at maydanarchitects.com
Feature Image: Geometric House by Maydan Architects (Photo by John Sutton)