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Interior Architecture Sparks Renewed Passion

BAC student learning from Taniya Nayak in unique field of hospitality design

Maria Martinez Romo. Photo by Jonah Prada.

When BAC student Maria Martinez Romo entered the design industry, she was filled with renewed enthusiasm. Originally from Mexico, Maria moved to Vancouver after high school to pursue a career in acting. After 10 years, she ultimately determined she wanted a career that would allow her to apply her creativity to something more tangible. Interior architecture fit the bill.

"Having the ability to shape human connections and relationships through space sparked a new passion in me," explained Maria. "Through design, I have found a way of creating art that shapes the relationship we have with our surroundings."

Now, after relocating to Boston, Maria is pursuing a Bachelor of Interior Architecture from The Boston Architectural College while simultaneously learning from leaders in the field. For Maria, balancing academics with a job is nothing new; she has grown familiar with the BAC's model of combining coursework with real world experience. After her experience in the acting world, she finds familiarity and comfort in having a full plate.

That is one of the reasons she instantly fell in love with the excitement, pace, and complexity of a typical day at Taniya Nayak Design LLC, where she is currently working and learning the ins and outs of a unique type of interior architecture: hospitality design. As its name suggests, the firm is owned and lead by Taniya Nayak, one of the nation's foremost interior designers. Given her role as a spokesperson for comedian Ellen DeGeneres, it probably comes as no surprise that Taniya makes going to work each day fun. Her willingness to help and mentor others makes her firm an ideal place for BAC students to learn and grow.

Headquartered in Milton, MA, the firm specializes in hospitality, specifically restaurant design, identifying and recommending ways in which a restaurant can utilize design to function more successfully. Taniya and her small team work closely with television networks, including HGTV and the Food Network, and are behind the restaurant transformations on the popular show Restaurant Impossible.

Maria is an important part of this small team. While no two days are exactly the same, her responsibilities include building models, defining specifications, and providing direction for the furniture and general layout of spaces. Through all of her projects, vendor relations is one skill that she has regularly practiced and strengthened.

"I have expanded my knowledge of different materials and how to choose them while successfully working with several vendors," said Maria. "From laminates to faucets to tables, it is important to know what materials are available and what is currently trending or popular, and why. This knowledge then helps with prioritizing sustainability, and explaining the value of choosing the ‘green' option to clients."

Accommodating the needs and styles of clients is another skill Maria has been able to improve over the past several months. Taniya and her team take the time to really understand the client before making any recommendations. They guide clients based off what works best for their budget, space, and the future of their space - and always keep recommendations realistic.

As Maria continues to grow as a student and designer, she emphasizes the importance of staying connected. "Class work is intense and studying is important, but it's also important to connect with your peers, colleagues, and BAC alumni and share your experiences," she said. "There is so much support that students have to take advantage of here, and that's how new and amazing opportunities will arise."