Marco Maximus, 31, trained as an architect, but he has always been drawn to a wide variety of design disciplines and artforms, from architecture and interior design, to branding and product design. “Since I was young, I loved design in all its shapes. I was fond of branding—creating a story, working on new ideas that can be represented in many shapes,” he said.
Born in Egypt, he studied architecture at the University of Cairo, undertaking a broad course that gave him a taste of multiple disciplines. “I learned how to think of everything—urbanism, landscaping, visualizing, drawing, painting, as well as interior design—not just to be an architect,” he said.
After graduating, he worked as an architect and interior designer in Abu Dhabi, before moving to Dubai in 2018. Since 2019, he has worked at Kristina Zanic Design Consultants, a Dubai-based firm with an international outlook and clientele, where he is currently a senior interior designer.
“I use my whole toolkit—my design and presentation skills, even my video editing—to create ideas for my designs,” he said. “It’s totally different working in Dubai then working back home because of the diversity. In our office we have almost 30 different nationalities and I’ve been lucky enough to work in Montenegro and Cyprus and Serbia, also in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain—very diverse countries and with very diverse high-end clients.”
Currently, Mr. Maximus works mostly in the hotel sector, designing high-end interiors for five-star boutique and chain hotels, but he is also passionate about product design and has won multiple awards for his furniture designs. In 2020, he won a competition to design a mounting plate for AXOR x SARA Group in celebration of Saudi heritage, creating a sleek modern translation of traditional Sadu patterns laser carved into a brushed red-gold metal finish.
Last year, he won an award for Flocean, a distinctive curved sun-lounger designed in collaboration with Amr Abdelaziz, a colleague at Kristina Zanic Design Consultants.
Designed to raise awareness of how trash is polluting oceans, the lounger is made from waste including single-use visors, gloves and facemasks, which contain plastics including polypyrene and take 450 years to biodegrade. The pair designed the lounger for charity Surge for Water’s Sustainability Design Awards, creating a unique use for the billions of single-use medical supplies discarded during the pandemic.
Just as he pushes himself to create unique product designs, Mr. Maximus doesn’t take the easy route when it comes to interiors. “I like to be challenged. When everything thinks, ‘This is not going to work’ or ‘It’s a very short timeline,’ this is what makes me very enthusiastic to work,” he said. “I’m very fond of working on restorations and refurbishments. It’s something that not everyone likes but it’s something that I think is very interesting because you have a whole history of a building—sometimes you need to keep it and sometimes you need to come up with something totally different and totally new. You can see the change with your own eyes.”