TerraMai Q&A - Mavis Wiggins of TPG Architecture


As evidenced by the new HBO offices in New York, Mavis Wiggins and her team have a gift for creating spaces that are clean and unfussy but still bold and exciting. Ms. Wiggins joined TPG Architecture in New York as a studio design director in 2010. Her career includes stints at Gensler, HLW and KPF. She is a frequent guest instructor at Pratt Insitute, Parson's School of Design and the New York School of Interior Design.

Who and what are your main design influences?  I believe Modernism and The International Style were most influential for me. I really can relate to the purist design philosophy of simple form, transparency and the use of industrial honest materials. Joseph D’Urso helped me find my way early on as my instructor at Pratt.

What and where is your favorite space? Upper Makonikey, Lambert’s Cove on Martha’s Vineyard. Sunsets on the water are magical.

What architect or designer do you most admire? Charlotte Perriand’s contribution to LeCorbusier’s studio was tremendous. She had the courage to preserver when women were not being encouraged to do so.

What deceased architect or designer is most overrated? I would rather not publish my opinion; bad karma!

Who would you most like to design something for?  Two people come to mind:  my mother who was the most warm and elegant woman I ever had the pleasure of knowing, and Michelle Obama who is both brilliant and fierce; you can’t lose with that combination.

What is your favorite city or town? You can’t have a bad time in New Orleans if you tried. The combination of the people, jazz, blues and food… amazing. Rio is not bad either, particularly when it is winter here and summer there!

What building or structure do you most dislike? Penn Station. I don’t think I need to elaborate.

What is the best moment of the day? Saturday afternoon at home. Our neighborhood is so peaceful and quiet, with a chorus of beautiful songbirds that serenade.

What is your design philosophy?  Simple, clean, honest, pure.

What advice do you have for people interested in a career in design?  Find inspiration through art, nature, people, and life.  Keep your eyes and ears open, stick to your convictions and don’t be discouraged by negative persuasion.