An Inside Look: Harrington Interior Design Instructor Designs Manhattan Showroom

November 1, 2012 General, Interior Design 0 Comments

Maya Romanoff showroom

Harrington faculty are vibrant contributors to the design industry not only in the classroom but also around the world. Recently, Harrington instructor Tom Marquardt, along with his firm marquardt+ (m+), designed and unveiled the New York showroom for Maya Romanoff, an innovative textile and wall-covering firm. The design was shortlisted for the Society of British Interior Designers Interior Design Awards.

From inlaid mother-of-pearl-shell wall coverings and tie-dyed fabrics to woven-hemp materials, Maya Romanoff has been as innovative in the textile and wall-covering industry as one can get. When the firm needed to create a showroom for the Decoration & Design Building in Manhattan, they needed to create a truly exquisite space that could not only showcase and accommodate their innovative products but also live up to one of the most vibrant design cities in the world.

Fortunately, they knew just who to turn to: Tom Marquardt and his firm marquardt+, who had recently and with great success designed the Maya Romanoff Flagship Showroom* at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. The m+ design team, directed by Tom Marquardt and led by James Wild, worked to create a space perfect for Romanoff’s exquisite and artisan brand appeal.

I followed up with Tom to gain insight on just how this exciting project took shape.

Harrington: Can you share insight on what unique challenges you encountered in designing this important space?

marquardt+: The main challenge and unique requirement in New York was the size of the space, which was roughly a fifth of the size that we had in the Chicago showroom. We developed the space to echo the brand standard we established in the Chicago showroom, but on a much smaller scale, while still utilizing the finite details of the pull-out panels, soffits and desk. Although a challenge, we were able to include 76% of the SKUs/products found in the Chicago space in the New York showroom, including 62 out of the 81 total pull-out panels found in Chicago!  Because of the size, all of the elements - except the track lighting - were custom designed by m+. This includes the chandeliers, the desk, magnetic color wall, sample display and storage, pullout panels and “ladder” display.

Maya Romanoff showroom

Harrington: Amazing how necessity can lead to innovation! Tom, can you please share how your work outside of the Harrington College of Design classroom influences what happens inside of your classroom?

marquardt+: Because I am fortunate enough to have been leading an interdisciplinary design firm like marquardt+ for the past two decades, the work I'm involved with outside Harrington brings the reality of my daily practice to my teaching and students. Because m+ provides interior, industrial, product, communications, graphic, brand, marketing and landscape design services and partners with Gridwerk Architecture to provide full architectural services all under one roof, I have a lot to share.

Frequently, we are asked or are required to provide multiple skill sets on one project, such as with the Maya Romanoff NYC work. I bring these experiences to my students and make sure they push themselves outside their skill sets and see these challenges as an opportunity to expand and grow, to follow their passion to do what they want to do, as I have. Nothing can reinforce what's possible more than sharing with my students my own and my team's work experience where graphic designers, interior designers and architects work seamlessly together, rather than in silos with little communication.

The marquardt+ team on the Maya Romanoff NYC project consisted of five innovative contributors:

Tom Marquardt: Design Director, Custom Lighting Design
James Wild: Lead Designer, Project Architect, and Project Manager
Vince Gammino: Custom Design Detailing and Resolution
Gretchen Miller: Specifications and CAD
Katelyn Smith: Environmental Graphics


We’re incredibly thankful to have instructors like Tom at our college and excited to have had a chance to see marquardt+’s exciting work in Chicago and New York.

Read more about the Maya Romanoff New York Showroom project in an Architectural Digest feature and on the m+ blog. And be sure to check out Maya Romanoff’s awesome creations at

-Harrington blogger Amber Moore

*Chicago work performed as Design Collaboratives

Photos copyright marquardt+


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