We sit down to chat with designer Dina Marciano about Dina Marciano Design, her process and how it all started.
Dina Marciano is one of those people who seem to conquer everything she steps into. From professional athlete to model it seems that there is nothing she can’t both accomplish and master.
So, when she built her family home, Dina realized that there was yet another talent waiting to bust to the forefront.
Thanks to the global exposure in her previous fields, Dina naturally developed a love of architecture, various styles and cultures along with a keen eye.
It soon became clear that creating spaces would be her next chapter. Shortly after having completed her home, she launched Dina Marciano Design and from there, her reputation has grown from strength to strength.
Her approach and understanding of what the client wants and translating that results in livable spaces as opposed to showrooms. It is a functional grandeur that allows for real-life living. Spaces where kids can run around and you can kick off your shoes but has the sophistication that makes the space always look photo-ready.
We sat down to talk to her about Dina Marciano Design, her process and how it all started.
Please tells us about your start. How and why did you choose this field?
A native of Belarus in the former Soviet Union, I trained in the sport of badminton from an early age and went on to become a professional badminton player. As a professional athlete, I was approached to be a model for many companies, and in turn, became a successful model as well. I eventually landed in the US, but it was the travel I experienced through my multifaceted careers that helped me truly develop an appreciation for architecture and style. This global inspiration led me to launch Dina Marciano Design, a full-service interior design firm based in Laguna Beach. I started my firm in 2011, after designing my own home in Irvine Cove, Laguna Beach.
What do you feel makes your work different from other designers’?
I do not just design interiors, I provide and create a whole lifestyle experience for my clients and their homes. My life is very creative, spiritual and meaningful to me. I see the world in a very deep, beautiful way and believe design has a major impact on our well-being. I wish to convey this beauty into my designs and the spaces I create. The intricate details of the world and the experiences I had abroad allow me to apply a divergent approach to design. This unique approach allows me to stand out and differentiate myself from other designers in LA and OC.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Worldly inspirations compel me, with design in mind my artistry, uniqueness and elements of vivid perceptions expand my client’s experiences. I have an affinity for natural light resonating in spaces and drawing inspiration from the outdoors. Wherever you call home…there is beauty in the nature that surrounds it. It’s important to bring that inside your home to make it your habitat.
What do you think is the most effective way of presenting a project?
The most effective way of presenting a project is in person, with design renderings. After I have an initial meeting with my clients and once I have a full understanding of their desires and selections, I then begin to apply all those aspects into the renderings. I then present these large, blown up renderings. I do this so that the clients do not have to visualise the space, as most of my clients do not have an eye for design. They can see these designs easily, printed out and in front of them. Using these renderings, I can then fully develop and clearly explain my story and reason behind my designs and the choices I have made. It is the most innovative way that I am using that helps avoid mistakes and change orders. These renderings include the space plan, finishes, furniture and even show accessories and the minor, yet specific details.
What is your favourite project that you have done and why?
My most favourite project that I have ever done is my Irvine Cove project, in Laguna beach. To me, this project is very special. The inspiration behind the design was my three children and its completion was a stepping stone for my career in interior design. I started with finding and sourcing the empty lot to build on, to constructing the home from the ground up and was completely involved in the entire process. The design was to create a family-oriented house in a simple, sophisticated way, where children are free to express their passions in sports, art and music. I tried to design every aspect of the home down to the furniture while keeping a child-friendly atmosphere in mind. From heavily upholstered custom side tables without sharp edges to very low sofas that convert into tufted mattresses, so the kids can have fun playing, yet remain safe. The overall goal behind Irvine Cove was to create an elegant, yet child-proof environment, combining natural light with the architectural elements. I was able to design this house in a way where children and adults can freely interact, socialize and feel tranquil at the same time. The impossible feat!
Can you describe your evolution of work from the day you started up to today?
My evolution of work is ever-changing. I am constantly expanding my knowledge and creativity. Altering specific designs for each individual ensures that each of my designs and projects is unique. Creating my own brand, allows me to harmonize with and fit the needs of all my dynamic clients and their specific styles, desires, and ways of life. My clients are a vital source of inspiration. Naturally, it is their space that I’m creating for them, so uncovering who they are, how they live and what interests them is fun for me and helps me to translate this into their spaces.
Who is your favourite architect and why?
“I hope to achieve simplicity, but I also hope to achieve depth … I believe it is important that [design] should be a space where you feel spiritually empowered.”- Tadao Ando
This quote speaks to me. Trained and travelled in Asia, my favourite architect became Tadao Ando. I studied his architecture and principles of design in school and simply fell in love with his philosophy. Like Tadao, I am very much influenced by the environment. I try to incorporate natural elements like water, wood, glass, stone and light. These elements represent nature and are vital components in creating the physical experience of my work. To finish off this thought “…you cannot simply put something new into a place. You have to absorb what you see around you, what exists on the land, and then use that knowledge along with contemporary thinking to interpret what you see.” – Tadao Ando
I hope to fully achieve this daily in my practice and designs.
What are your future plans?
In addition to the start of a unique international design project that I have been working towards, I plan to expand my brand to brick and mortar. Developing more of a lifestyle brand is in the cards for me. Creating a storefront, will not only allow me to showcase my designs to more individuals but will also allow me to share products that I am currently working on creating with many partners and brands. These products will be uniquely designed by myself and only be available for purchase in-store and online. I truly want my store to be a one-stop-shop, filled with accessories for the home, furniture, finishes and much more. I would also like to partner with architectural firms and builders to expand my reach and design for more clients, in other cities as well. My goal is to express my design talents robustly and to help others live and work in a better more fulfilling environment.
How would you describe your signature style?
Simplicity, elegance and sophistication are the three vital components to my overall style. I love the process of creating both colour and fabric pallets for my projects. One of the goals is for everything to reverberate back to the theme, which has the client’s story behind it. My goal is to have a harmonious relationship between the natural light, architecture and interiors, where one can visually and physically relate to the space.
Does competition exist in your field & how do you deal with it?
There is competition in all aspects of business, for me competition is always in the back of my mind and I have learned from my past, as a professional athlete, that one cannot allow competition to take over one’s mind. That being said, I believe that my unique designs and my ingenuity will establish me in a category of my own. It is also beneficial to be the ‘interior designer of choice’ that many home developers in Orange County choose to work with, because of their respect and true appreciation for my skillset. My work has also been featured by a variety of publications, which allows me to stay above my competition, differentiate myself and make a name for my company, Dina Marciano Design.