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A+D Partner Spotlight: ID Studios, an Interview with Maegen Curry

ID Studios Associate Principal, Maegen Curry, sat down for an interview with G|M to discuss her path to commercial interiors, her favorite recent project, personal pastimes, and advice for young new designers.

Maegen Pro Landscape

1. Tell me a little bit about your professional background.

I’m incredibly excited to mark my 10-year milestone with ID Studios this year! I became an Owner and Associate Principal at the beginning of last year. Before ID Studios I worked for a small design firm near downtown. I attended the University of Washington where I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Law, Society, and Justice. I fell in love with the study of law but quickly realized after graduating and taking the LSAT, that a career in law wasn’t for me. I’ve always had a passion for design, but somewhere along the lines, I talked myself out of it. My mom is an artist and graphic designer, and my dad is an attorney and I’ve always had both passions built into me. During what I call my “mid-mid-life crisis” (laughing), and a desire for sunshine, I found myself in San Diego reconnecting with college friends who helped nudge me back toward my passion. My creative instincts took over and I realized design was what my heart wanted all along. Returning to school for design at The Design Institute of San Diego felt like coming home. It's funny how life comes full circle – many of my clients today happen to be law firms, blending my two worlds seamlessly. But I love doing the design side of it. I would never change the path that got me to design, I’m so happy. Beyond work, I was a CREW member from 2020 until the end of last year; I helped with marketing and events. I am now on the hunt for new organizations to get involved with.

2. You mentioned going to school in Washington. Is that where you are from?

Yes, I am originally from Bainbridge Island, Washington. It is a small island that is a 30-minute ferry ride outside of Seattle. There was one high school on the Island, and everyone knew each other. My family moved out of Washington recently, and they now reside in Northern California and Park City. I still have a lot of friends up in Washington. Talking about it is making me realize I need to go back to visit.

3. When and why did you know design was your destiny?

You know, life has a funny way of steering us. First, I had the realization that I didn’t want to go to law school. While I’ve always had a deep respect and admiration for attorneys, I knew in my heart it wasn’t for me. When I ran into a friend in San Diego, she was talking about architecture, and it sort of lingered in the back of my mind. I didn’t really have an “ah-ha” moment, but slowly I realized I needed to explore interior design. Thinking back to my childhood, I’ve always had a passion for design. Redecorating my room with different wallpaper and paints was one of my favorite things to do, as is the case with so many of my peers. It was a hobby that sort of sparked my interest in pursuing design professionally. While researching schools, I was drawn to those offering comprehensive programs covering both residential and commercial design. And that’s where my journey really began, and when I discovered my passion for commercial design.

4. Has anyone made a memorable impact on your career journey?

At my first design firm, I worked with a senior designer who was so creative, confident, and bold. It was so fun to watch him work. He would think of things that I never would have. Just the experience of working with someone like that—seeing how he thinks—helped me to see the importance of spending the time to be creative. And then there are the ID Studios Founding Principals Deborah and Amy. They approach design in different ways, but it makes their partnership so strong. Learning from them and observing how they work together and run ID Studios has been a privilege for me. I am truly grateful and honored to work alongside them. I’ve gained a ton of knowledge and wisdom from their leadership. And of course, I get inspired by other creative people; seeing people push boundaries and get excited about design inspires me and helps me to always push myself in my career.

5. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I would say it’s a blend of creativity and client satisfaction. The creativity aspect of my job is a given, but there’s something special about working closely with clients and seeing them genuinely happy with the end result. I have so much respect for my clients because they are doing their jobs and still showing up to our design meetings, participating, and just being a part of the process. Witnessing their pride and satisfaction as they step into their newly designed space is incredibly rewarding for me – one of the best feelings. It’s not just about design, but building meaningful relationships, diving deep into their culture and values, and creating a space that reflects their vision while adding our own creative flair.

6. What types of industries do you primarily support?

Corporate, workplace, and life science are ID Studios’ biggest markets. We also do education (including K-12), hospitality, and senior living. I find myself primarily working within the workplace and legal sectors.

7. Do you have a favorite or memorable project you did?

A recent project that stands out to me is Tandem Diabetes; it is up there in my list of all-time favorites. We had the pleasure of teaming up with your company on this project and just wrapped it up a few months ago. What made this project special was its scale. We had four floors of furniture and design to cover. This project holds the record for the most amount of finishes I have used in any project ever! It turned out amazing. We had a lot of freedom to be really creative, especially in areas like the breakrooms, open spaces, and collaborative areas. It was a blast bringing fresh ideas to life in these spaces. And working with the client was wonderful. Their enthusiasm and collaboration made the process so enjoyable.

10 Tandem HQ
Tandem Diabetes Headquarters

8. Has ID Studios partnered with G|M on any other notable projects besides Tandem Diabetes?

We just finished an amazing project with your team for a confidential client in Little Italy. While I can't disclose the client’s name due to confidentiality reasons, the project turned out amazing. The attention to detail was incredible - from security considerations to aligning with the client's values and executing high-level design concepts. They really wanted the space to be a true reflection of their San Diego team's identity, rather than their global identity. It was incredibly rewarding to bring their vision to life and witness the space become a tangible representation of their culture. We introduced some exciting elements, including unique furniture selections, to elevate the overall aesthetic and functionality of the space. Another memorable partnership with G|M was the collaboration with the Perkins Coie law firm from a few years back. I really enjoyed how that project turned out. I recently toured their office again and still love how everything turned out to this day.

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Confidential Client in Little Italy

9. What advice would you give to a new designer?

I would say to keep that creative spark alive. Never stop thinking “What if…?” or “What else?” or “What more can we do?” And then on the flip side, you have to know when to say “Ok, that’s enough. We are done being creative now, this is a solid idea, let’s run with this.” It’s all about striking that balance between pushing the boundaries and knowing when to settle in a direction. I’m a big advocate for designers challenging themselves, and pushing the boundaries of their designs and thought processes. And once you’ve got that solid concept in place, trust in it and run with it.

10. What is the key to a successful project?

For me, the ultimate key to a successful project boils down to one thing: the client relationship. It's about getting to know your client inside and out. When you truly understand their goals and maintain clear objectives throughout the project, every decision you make has a purpose. It's not about designing something just because it's trendy or cool; it's about ensuring that every aspect of your design aligns perfectly with your client's values, desires, and culture. By staying focused on supporting your client's objectives and staying true to their vision, you're guaranteed to have a successful project every time.

11. Favorite recent travel destinations?

Last year my husband and I took our kids to New York for the first time, and we did all of the things. They loved it and have been begging to go back, so that’s on our list for upcoming travel. We also love going to Palm Springs. We like to find a balance for travel between the “activity vacation” where you do all the things and the “relaxing vacation” where you do nothing and don’t leave the pool all day. When our kids are a bit older, we look forward to doing some bigger trips across the globe.

NY Boat

12. Tell me about your family life and favorite pastimes.

My husband is a firefighter, and we have two amazing boys - Jax, who's 11, and Cruz, who's 6. They keep us on our toes, that's for sure! Right now, we're in sports mode. Both of my boys are into flag football, and they play games on Friday nights. It might seem silly, but their Friday night games are a highlight of our week. It’s so much fun. There's just something special about cheering them on from the sidelines and then grabbing dinner with the team afterward. It's quality family time that we cherish. Aside from football, Cruz is also big on baseball, while Jax is all about basketball. So, you can imagine our weekends are packed with practices and games, but we wouldn't have it any other way. And when we're not on the field or court, you can usually find us at the beach, hunting for rocks or taking family beach walks. It's become a bit of a tradition for us. Most of the rocks end up getting tossed back into the ocean, courtesy of the boys' boundless energy (laughs), but we do keep a few special ones on a little shelf at home as mementos of our adventures.

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Collecting rocks
Friday night lights

13. Comfort TV show?

I love cooking shows, but I hate cooking (laughing). I love cooking competitions, like Top Chef & Next Level Chef. My husband is gone a lot for his work, so it’s hard to commit to a series to watch together because we’ll end up watching without one another and eventually someone gets upset. So, I just stick to cooking shows. We do enjoy watching Ted Lasso, but it’s taking us forever to get through it.

14. Do you have a favorite modern classic example of “famous” furniture?

Oh, I love talking about iconic furniture pieces! A few that come to mind are the Knoll Platner, Wassily, and Womb chairs. Each one has such a rich history and timeless design that I love. I've had the pleasure of incorporating the Womb chair into one of my projects, and maybe sneaking in a Platner table as well. There's just something about their sleek lines and classic appeal that adds instant sophistication to any space. At home, we have Eames Side Chairs at our dining table and a have a hand me down Knoll Tulip table, that came from my grandmother. When it comes to projects, my go-to is the Geiger Crosshatch. Our clients can't get enough of that chair, although our marketing manager might be getting a bit tired of seeing them in all our project photos (laughs).

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Knoll Platner Chair & Coffee Tables

15. What is your favorite thing to cook, or eat out?

Well, let me start by saying I'm not the chef in our household - that role belongs to my husband. Since he’s a fireman, you know his cooking skills are fire too (laughs). We're big fans of Mexican and sushi, and just local little family restaurants. For brunch without kiddos, you'll often find us at Waverly - their menu never disappoints. The Biergarten in Encinitas is another go-to spot. We live in La Costa but love spending time in Encinitas. I prefer eating out over cooking at home. There's just something about the experience of trying new dishes and soaking in the atmosphere of a restaurant that I absolutely love.

16. Drink of choice?

Well, I'm always hydrating, so you'll typically find me sipping on water. I'm a Starbucks cup girly. I also love Kombucha, whether it’s regular or hard. I love Boochcraft Grapefruit and Hibiscus flavor! Beyond that, I love a New Zealand Sav Blanc.

17. Coffee or tea?

Oh, tea is my jam. Neither my husband nor I are coffee drinkers, but he's all about energy drinks. I'm obsessed with Peet's Jade Tea with steamed milk and a touch of sweetness. It's like a cozy hug in a cup. It’s sort of like a sweeter green tea, almost like a tea latte. It’s the best.

18. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Barbie Pink because… It can only make you happy, you can’t be mad at barbie pink! (laughing)

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