Parterre Designer Series: Marie Mosman
Designer Marie Mosman is an expert at refreshing workplace environments with unique aesthetics that enhance productivity and wellness. Marie is the perfect designer for our next edition of the Parterre Designer Conversation Series as she just completed a large-scale renovation project using LVT throughout multiple new facilities for a health insurance provider.
Mosman has been in the design industry for over seven years, and is currently a Job Captain at the Raleigh office of IA Interior Architects. In her work, she focuses primarily on workplace interiors with additional experience in the higher education and retail industries.
She shared with us some of her insights on the industry — including trends, where she finds inspiration and her experience with luxury vinyl flooring.
Parterre: What made you want to be a designer and what do you enjoy most about your job?
Marie Mosman: It’s always been in my DNA. My father is an engineer and my mother is an artist, so there’s a natural fit. My mother encouraged my brother and I to draw and create from an early age.
Later when I applied to college, I went back and forth quite a bit between interiors and architecture, and I decided to study architecture at Virginia Tech. Some architects are naturally form makers and others are space makers, and I would categorize myself as the latter, so interiors was really a natural fit.
What I love most is the process of seeing a little kernel of an idea come to life. In my world there is no better feeling than walking into a completed space and feeling this big rush of achievement knowing you were part of making something.
Parterre: What do you feel has changed the most about the design industry since you first became a designer?
MM: I think we’re becoming more aware of our impact. Our impact on health, social structures, and the environment. I’m seeing this brought up more frequently in project discussions both internally and externally, when in the past you would only see this on the client side with projects that were hoping for accreditation.
Parterre: Where do you find inspiration for interior design?
MM: I read a lot and try to stay aware of what’s out there. Often, I find inspiration from my own travel experiences. I think my study abroad experience in college was particularly impactful on my own aesthetic development and is still something to this day that I feed on quite a bit. It was eye opening to see as much as we did in such a short time, so we really had to jump right into the building right away. I think, all in all, that whole experience gave a big start to my own visual repository and I find myself drawing from that again and again.
Parterre: In your work environment, what helps you get creative or be inspired to design? (i.e. soft music, a comfortable space to work in like a couch, natural lighting)
MM: I need headphones, a long roll of tracing paper, and a lot of pens. Also, a nice amount of buffer space between me and my computer. My process tends to move back and forth a lot between drawing and writing, and I have this tendency to walk away with my right arm completely covered in ink!
Parterre: What is one thing you need on your desk when working?
MM: Definitely coffee, I always need coffee.
Parterre: What is your favorite design trend that you’ve seen in the industry recently?
MM: It’s not my personal style — I live in neutrals, but it’s been interesting to see the use of “feminine colors” such as lavender and soft pink, pop up in furniture and finishes within the commercial design world. They’re not tones that we’ve historically seen being widely used in the workplace, so I’ve been really excited to see this cultural shift in action.
Parterre: Can you tell us about a recent project you’ve enjoyed being a part of? What drew you to this project?
MM: One of the more recent projects I enjoyed working on was the series of Customer Experience Centers we did for a confidential health insurance firm. It’s one of my favorites. It was essentially one big strategic planning exercise while also emphasizing aesthetics. On the one hand, we needed to develop a design that was just standardized enough to be deployed quickly and efficiently. But on the other hand, each design needed to be unique and reflect the local vernacular, so it was this double-sided coin experience where you had to balance the two.
Parterre: What is a common design challenge you see when designing different spaces and how do you overcome it?
MM: I would say mental burnout can be a big hurdle. Creative energy is not unlimited, and we really need to recharge to stay fresh. One of the ways I work around it is keeping my personal aesthetic really simple. My home is almost completely white with touches of gray, and I almost exclusively dress in black and white with a hint of navy. This may not be for everyone, but this gives me visual relief and allows me to refresh at the end of the day.
Parterre: What design element do you typically consider first when designing a space and why? For instance, some start with the furnishings or others may start with the flooring design.
MM: I always start with the volume. From there, I tend to start exploring how I can use material to transform or reinforce an experience. At that point the materials are really loose and generic, and that helps me stay flexible and open to possibilities while also creating an overarching logic that helps guide my decisions moving forward.
Parterre: What is your experience with using Parterre LVT or your general opinion on luxury vinyl? And where do you see LVT the most (i.e. a particular industry)?
MM: I find LVT to be a really great way to interject texture and warmth into spaces where a client needs something more durable and low maintenance. It’s a nice balance of all of those factors. I’ve used it pretty much anywhere that needs to hold up to foot traffic and warrants an upgraded look while also balancing the budget. It’s just very versatile.
Parterre: What is your go-to product or a general design element that you try to incorporate into projects?
MM: I love a portal. I’m always doing portals. I feel like it’s an element that can be used in so many different ways, but it can still feel fresh and new. It’s a nice way to define a separation between spaces or perhaps guide people down a corridor — I find that there’s a lot of opportunity there.