"There are so many ways in which the versatile role of architects can contribute."

María, Spain

Master in Business for Architecture and Design

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María Ruíz

About me

María Ruiz, Founder and Director of Atelier MEL, is originally from Bilbao, an industrial city in northern Spain. As the University in Bilbao does not offer Architecture as part of their studies, María moved to Barcelona and she studied at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, where she worked on large-scale public work projects with professors during and after her studies.
That is when she realized that she needed knowledge on how to manage an architecture firm and the lack of training in administration and management that architects have.

She found out about the Master in Business for Architecture and Design (MBArch) by professor in BIM and Technology Management Roberto Molinos, and she decided to join the program in 2011, its founding year.

María Ruíz, Spain


Founder and Director of Atelier MEL

It was only 2 years after finishing the MBArch that María decided to create her own company and Atelier MEL was born in Barcelona as a result of putting technology, design, and crafts together.

The studio started working only with crafted glass, but they currently work with different materials and their pieces are more creative and unique than ever.

Story - María Ruíz | IE Architecture and Design

Every project is a new challenge and every day is different, this helps María to enjoy especially the creative side of the projects. She can learn from all the parts involved in the team: from the client to the artisan! She loves being based in Barcelona for its Mediterranean climate, the mountains, the sea, and its scale as a city, but she would love it to be more lively sometimes.

Atelier MEL started making mainly singular and artistic lamps, or pieces related to lighting, but at the moment they are developing different types of pieces (big-scale luminaires, sculptural ceilings, shop windows, …), but María highlights a piece they are working on for the W Muscat Hotel in Oman: “this is a very interesting project in very different levels. It is a sculptural piece that forms a tridimensional mandala that changes depending on the angle you see it from; you can see up to ten different mandalas, it is like a kaleidoscope! It is very complex geometrically!”

Marketing, business strategy, planning, and team management in the context of architecture and design companies are part of the knowledge that María values most of the MBArch.

The multicultural background of the classmates that joined María in this adventure (18 people with 12 different nationalities and living in 10 countries across the globe) also helped her understand that the clients have their own culture and many diverse ways of communicating and working.

Being a small team working in projects in various locations is probably one of the biggest challenges for Atelier MEL, and losing a project can be a big risk, but it didn’t stop them installing pieces in renown hotels such as Hilton, RoomMate, Hyatt, and Ritz all around the world – in the United States, India, South Africa, and the Middle East among others.

Taking the MBArch for María made a difference and she is now conscious about the value that the management knowledge brings to architects: there are so many ways in which the versatile role of architects can contribute. The MBArch helped me being conscious about it and to make a change in my career.

Story - María Ruíz | IE Architecture and Design

Story - María Ruíz | IE Architecture and Design

Story - María Ruíz | IE Architecture and Design