MS Design – Shaping the Architectural Evolution of Marbella

Pia Arrieta
Pia Arrieta DM Properties
7 minutes to read

In our continuing examination of what makes our top architects tick, The Architect Series, presented by Diana Morales - Knight Frank in Marbella, we turn our focus to MS Design, a stalwart in Marbella's architectural landscape. This profile delves deep into the firm's history, its unique design philosophy, and offers an exclusive glimpse into one of its iconic projects in La Zagaleta.

Villa in Marbella, by MS Design

Who are MS Design?

Arriving from Mexico in 1969, a visionary named Marcos Sáinz laid the foundation for what would become MS Design. Marcos Sainz, a Mexican architect, alongside his Swiss counterpart Noldi Schreck, played a pivotal role in shaping the architectural identity of Marbella.

Over the years, he was instrumental in designing many of Marbella's iconic villas, luxury apartments, and public buildings, particularly in areas like the Golden Mile, Nueva Andalucía, La Zagaleta, and Guadalmina. Together with Schreck, they embarked on their maiden project, the iconic Puerto Banus. This marked the inception of a legacy that his son, Maurice, would later inherit and elevate.

When I first arrived, the traditional Andalusian style, with its Romano-Moorish roots emboldened by Baroque influences, was still entrenched. Gradually, as the number of foreign residents increased, the typical construction methods and rustic designs were replaced by a more international style that was in fact a contemporary interpretation of Andalusian architecture as seen through foreign eyes. - Marcos Sainz

His son Maurice’s early years were filled with dreams of castles, palaces, and fortresses. These dreams found a home in his father’s architectural studio, where he spent his summer breaks. His passion for architecture led him to pursue formal education at Universidad Iberoamericana.

Villa designed by MS Design

Over the decades, the firm has deftly navigated the ever-evolving architectural landscape of Marbella. Today, with a devoted team of nine, many of whom have dedicated over two decades to the firm, MS Design stands as a beacon of innovation and architectural brilliance in Marbella.

What is the Essence of MS Design’s Architectural Vision?

At the heart of MS Design's philosophy lies a commitment to crafting spaces that resonate with emotion, functionality, and innovation. Maurice believes that “the essence of a home is in developing a perfect layout of spaces and their communication with each other”. The studio’s designs are a harmonious blend of modern aesthetics with enduring elegance, ensuring each project is a unique narrative tailored to the client's vision.

I treat each project as if it were my own perfect house, adapted to the area and clients' likes and needs. - Maurice Sainz

A word from Pia Arrieta about MS Design

Pia Arrieta, managing partner at DM Properties, shares her insights on MS Design's architectural prowess. “Over the decades, Marbella has seen a myriad of architectural styles, but few have left an indelible mark like MS Design. Their ability to merge the traditional essence of Marbella with contemporary nuances is unparalleled. Each of their designs isn't just a structure; it's a living testament to elegance, functionality, and timeless charm. Indeed, their commitment to understanding the land, the culture, and aspirations of their clients sets them apart. In a landscape as diverse as Marbella, where every architect strives to make a statement, MS Design's creations stand out with a harmonious blend of innovation and tradition, unique yet still connected to the soul of Marbella.”

MS Design’s Impact on the Evolution of Marbella Architecture and Future Insights

MS Design has been a transformative force in Marbella's architectural landscape. With a history that spans decades, the firm has been at the forefront of luxury design in the region, setting benchmarks for others to follow with designs that are always unique, yet always recognisable as an MS Design creation.

Marbella Villa by MS Design

A Testament to Timeless Design

MS Design's architectural approach is characterised by a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. Their designs, while deeply rooted in classical Mediterranean aesthetics, have seamlessly incorporated contemporary elements. This ability to evolve while staying true to core design principles has been a hallmark of their success.

Changing with the Times

Over the years, MS Design has witnessed and adeptly navigated the shifting architectural trends in Marbella. While the firm's early designs celebrated the classical Mediterranean ethos, recent projects reflect a modern aesthetic influenced by global trends. Yet, what sets MS Design apart is their unwavering commitment to ensuring that their modern designs maintain a symbiotic relationship with their surroundings while always keeping a weather eye on their brief. Sainz believes clients’ tastes are looking more for “a relaxed elegance in the design, a silent luxury.”

I always try to develop projects that I am proud of, but most of all, I am proud of developing a strong friendship and confidence with our clients. - Marcos Sáinz

Looking to the Future

Looking ahead, MS Design is poised to further influence the luxury design landscape in Marbella. The firm recognises the growing trend towards sustainability and eco-friendly designs and is collaborating in a design process for a project with Wim de Peuter from SpaceConnect NV, an energy expert and board member of the World Energy Council, which, enthuses Sainz, “is tremendously interesting”.

MS Design, Marbella Luxury Architects

However, as with any evolving industry, challenges persist. The quest for newness in design, coupled with budgetary constraints, often takes architects back to the design board. Yet, as Sainz aptly puts it, “Such iterations often enhance the project's quality. The most common challenge is creating something unique... The challenge of never repeating and yet creating an architecture in which we are recognisable."

Casa Magda, an MS Design classic design in La Zagaleta

Originally created by MS Design 28 years ago, Casa Magda stands as an enduring classic of architectural elegance in an area celebrated for its prestige and unmatched luxury. The villa reflected the contemporary ethos and the vision of its first owners, with an unparalleled location that boasts prime vistas to the south and west within the urbanisation.

When approached by the new owner for a modern refresh, MS Design recognised the lasting relevance of their foundational design elements. The renovation centred on updating materials, colours, and technical installations. A notable change was the shift from wooden to slim aluminium window frames, enhancing natural light and seamlessly connecting to the revived exteriors. With new built-in furniture, contemporary cladding, and updated sanitaryware, the villa has been gracefully revitalised, ensuring its esteemed position in La Zagaleta for the foreseeable future.

MS Design – Shaping the Architectural Evolution of Marbella

On the refurbishment of the villa, Maurice remarks, "This villa has always been a special project for us. Its timeless design speaks volumes, and our recent updates only enhance its inherent beauty, ensuring it remains a standout piece in our portfolio."

MS Design: Data facts

  • CEO: Maurice Sainz
  • Origin: Marbella, Spain
  • LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/maurice-sainz-bb855b42
  • Specialisation: Urban Planning, Collective Architecture, Residential Architecture, Interior Architecture, Commercial Spaces, Projects, Graphic Design
  • Architecture Studio: MSD Arquitectos
  • Address: LOCAL 105 - CASA Q, PUERTO BANÚS MARBELLA (MÁLAGA)
  • Year founded: 1974 by father Marcos and Noldi Schreck, currently 9 team members who have been there for 20 years
  • Website: msd-arquitectos.com
  • Email: info@msd-arquitectos.com
  • Contact number: +34 952 90 60 80
  • Location of projects carried out: Throughout Spain,Switzerland and Mexico

Pia Arrieta, 28 Dec 2023 - The Architect Series - Inside Marbella Luxury

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