Mariano Desmaras is an architect and graphic designer. He seamlessly combines those skills in exhibit designs for museums and branded environments for companies and institutions around the world. His work has received numerous top design awards, most notably from the American Institute of Graphics Arts (AIGA), Type Directors Club and Society of Environmental Graphic Design.
Orchestrating the Visitor’s Engagement
Mariano has found success by reimaging the design process. The exhibit development process impacts how visitors experience the richness and vitality of the content. He sees the designer’s role as synthesizing the contributions from all parties into an experience that makes sense while surprising visitors. The perfect form for an exhibit springs from the intersection point of the stakeholders’ contributions—the form that best conveys the energy of the works on display. When the curator’s vision and the museum’s mission coalesce, visitors receive a real experience of engagement and participation.
Integrating Inclusion as Audience Development Tool
For the last decade Mariano has been immersed in studying and testing ways that design can advance inclusion in audience development for museums. He is the former Chair of the Latino Network of AAM and has lectured in the Latino Museum Studies Program at the Smithsonian Latino Center. That experience informs his exhibit designs, in which he seeks solutions that are inclusive and celebrate diversity through audience participation. He has designed numerous bilingual and bicultural exhibits in his native Spanish language as well as in Chinese and Arabic. That multicultural work has unveiled new possibilities for exhibit design as an audience development tool.
Argentinian Heritage, Columbia University Architecture Degree
Mariano grew up in Puerto Rico with a family of Argentinian heritage. He studied at the University of Michigan, receiving dual degrees in English and Graphic Design. He worked as an editorial graphic designer in Paris, France before acquiring a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University in New York. He then worked for five years with Ralph Appelbaum Associates and other award-winning design firms including the Rockwell Group.
Recently, he launched Museum Environments / Branded Environments LLC. Museum Environments designs museum exhibits and provides branding and graphic design services to museum and cultural institutions. Branded Environments is an experience design firm for the workplace.
He enjoys living in New York City—a city with an endless parade of museum exhibits. He loves time at home cooking for his family. He spends every Saturday at a drawing studio in the East Village, and enjoys listening to audio books while on the treadmill.