Interview with Maria Elena Fauci of MEF Architect: a little piece of Italy in the Netherlands.

Sam Fisser Sam Fisser
MEF Architect
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We interviewed the Italian architect and interior designer Maria Elena Fauci. She is the founder of the studio MEF Architect, which has been active in the Netherlands since 2007. With her approach to architectural and interior design she wants to create various projects. An approach that combines attention to detail with understanding and developing each project as a whole. From the close relationship with customers to the design of the projects. Every day at MEF Architect, Maria Elena Fauci combines a great passion for creativity and a pragmatic attention to functionality and efficiency in order to ensure the perfect execution. Research, experiments and use of different materials are converted into architectural projects, renovations of homes and business premises. All projects are unique as they meet the different needs and wishes of the customers. The only constant in every work: elegance, functionality and diverse materials. Not to forget the interplay between architecture and the environment in which the home is located. 

1. Where does your passion to design come from?

Design offers us an opportunity to improve the quality of the environment and spaces around us. Thanks to design, we can make our own mark on the world we live in.

2. What made you decide to work in the design world?

Since childhood, I’ve had a passion for drawing. I like to create innovative, personalised designs. I love to experiment. That’s why my projects are always different. They are always based on the information I receive from my customers. With that information I can realise their dream home. My designs tell the customer’s story and my own story. I grew up in a creative family, I think design and architecture have always been a part of my world. 


3. Describe a typical workday for you

First, I check my email and after that I start with the project right away. Time flies since I have to realise and try out multiple creations. That gives me a magical feeling. I often go to the building sites to check how my work is executed.  I see my customers in the evening, mostly now through a video call or on Saturday morning.


4. What is the most frustrating part of your job?

Sometimes I meet people who think that anyone can be an architect, which diminishes the importance of architects. Behind the design of a project there are analyses, study, know-how, cultural background, continuous updates, passion and above all creativity. The result is never arbitrary and the design is always drawn in detail.

5. What is the best or most rewarding part of your job?

Clients have told me multiple times that the villa design fits their home exquisitely, it feels to them as if it has always been this way. I was told they were happy that I kept pushing for the riskiest / innovative solution as it is what gives character to their home. This also makes the house unique

6. Your designs are often described as glamorous? Do you agree with that statement?

Yes, I agree with that statement. Furniture, materials and accessories always respond to trends. But even with those elements my interiors are still timeless in their design. Replacing an armchair or sofa upholstery with a different material or colour will always change the look and feel of the home. However, the basic concept will never change as it is based on the customer's needs. Those needs usually remain unchanged.

7. What can clients expect when they start working with you?

I will be fully involved in the design until everything is worked out in detail. It is precisely the finishing touches that ensure the quality. The execution of the work is fundamental to me. I will also check this regularly, making sure that my design is executed correctly

8. Are there any rules that you absolutely must follow while working?

Absolutely. It is best to record every phase from design to realization. Yet, I always remain personal and spontaneous towards my customers.

9. Is there an element that can be found in all your works?

Elegance, functionality, bringing different textures and materials together in my interior designs. My architectural projects are mainly about the relationship between the home and the environment. I don't have a fixed style and I don't want one. Each design is a story of different elements that tell something unique. I like to design iconic furniture for a home. This is where my Italian heritage comes to the fore.

10. With unlimited resources and budgets, what would your dream project be?

Like Frank Lloyd Wright, I would like to create a house on a waterfall.

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