Designer Crush: Marissa ZajackAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
Multi-disciplinary designer Marissa Zajack utilizes form, color, pattern, and texture to create a body of work that expresses a distinct point of view for each client. Zajack’s portfolio spans the fields of interior design, furniture design, and graphic design, and her clients include the likes of Dr. Dre, Wes Anderson, and Ryan Murphy Television. She has also worked on film and television projects including Bombshell, The Politician, and Insecure. Learn more in our Q+A below.
How did you get your start in design?
I grew up in a very artistic family. My father was an advertising photographer, and I spent much of my life at his studio. It was very important to my mother to be immersed in the arts starting at a young age. I spent most of my life in various art classes and programs. After college, I briefly worked in fashion and then moved over to working in the art department in film and television fairly quickly. I found that experience exciting and collaborative. I loved learning how to tell a story by using an environment and how to creatively think of the environment around you. Last year, I was asked to design a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles and began my career pivot as an interior designer. It was an exhilarating experience. I felt like it brought all my years of experience together.
Tell us about your work on the Red Herring restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles and what made the project unique.
Red Herring is unique in so many ways. I wanted to make the environment comfortable, yet rich with color and texture.The husband and wife owners of Red Herring wanted the space to feel elegant but above all else fun. I achieved that with vibrant color combinations and geometric patterns mixed with an art deco inspired jungle mural by artist Mike Willcox whose work I love. Red Herring is the perfect juxtaposition of classic elements mixed with fresh and new elements to make a timeless interior.
You’ve worked with major names like Dr. Dre, Wes Anderson, and Ryan Murphy — what can you tell us about how (if at all!) these clients’ styles overlap and how they’re distinct?
Yes, they all have a vision that is so unmistakably their own. You never mistaken their work for someone else’s. They all embody so much confidence in what they do, and it shows through in their work every time. That is my biggest take-away from all of them — do what you love and stay true to your vision.
What kind of role have you had in titles like Bombshell, The Politician, and Insecure and what do you enjoy about working in film and television?
I was the graphic designer on all those projects. I helped form the look and narrative of visual storytelling through the graphics design present on a set. I enjoy the diversity of projects. One month I can be working on a show that is rich with history and texture and then then switch on to a show that is about a fast paced news network. Each job is so individual. It’s really fun to create a world that doesn’t exist top to bottom. My graphic design work has helped form who I am as an interior designer. When working on Red Herring, I was in charge of creating that world. From interiors, to branding to the uniforms. I looked at all of it as a cohesive design vision. My years in the film industry helped me be fearless about taking on every aspect of design because I know if one part of design doesn’t work cohesively with the vision, all areas suffer.
Who are some of your biggest professional role models and why?
My biggest role models are people that have diversified their talents in different areas of design and have built companies around that. I read Diane Von Furstenberg’s autobiography Diane: A Signature Life years ago and it stuck with me. She was on the forefront of building a brand around one brilliant idea. She was a shrewd businessman and was always ahead of the curve.
What’s your dream vacation destination and itinerary?
India is top on my list. It’s a perfect destination for culture and design. Jaipur looks beyond dreamy.
Favorite movie snack?
First celebrity crush?
Fred Savage, the bad boys came later…
Current album/song/artist on repeat?
I’m having a renaissance with Lauryn Hill’s album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
If you could swap careers with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Beyonce, of course!
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