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January 11, 2024 – Published in Design & Decor Autumn-Winter 2023 issue

A sophisticated ambiance enriched by a strategic lighting concept

Words: Maria Mercieca

Photography: Elisa von Brockdorff, Therese Debono and M+ Design Studio

With almost two decades of professional experience in design projects, Maria Mercieca is a senior interior and lighting designer and owner of M+ Design Studio in Sliema.

Her excellent portfolio is testament to her trademark approach to customised projects and design achievements. Maria graduated in Interior Design in Florence, Italy, obtained a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Malta, and, later, achieved a Masters’ degree in Lighting Design in Rome. She is also a founding member and vice president at MIDA, the Malta Interior Design Association.

Maria recently had the privilege of redesigning her aunt’s bedroom in an innovative way.

“The project was driven by my aunt’s desire for a fresh start in a space that would uplift her spirits,” Maria explained. “Following the loss of her husband, the room had become a source of sadness. Her brief was to create a welcoming atmosphere that would balance style with functionality.”

The plan incorporated a carefully designed walk-in wardrobe with ample storage solutions to keep the room clutter-free, a comfortable suspended sofa to provide a cosy spot for reading, and a meticulously planned lighting scheme to create a warm and attractive ambiance. All design elements and furniture were precisely bespoke-tailored to meet the client’s desires and needs. 

“The aim was to create a comfortable and inviting space where my aunt would feel at ease and enjoy spending her time,” Maria continued. “A place where memories would harmonise with the promise of new beginnings, bringing a sense of relaxation and peace.”


The bedroom epitomises the artful fusion of organic warmth and contemporary sophistication. 

At its heart, a gracefully curved, barrel-vaulted gypsum ceiling stretches luxuriously from end to end, infusing the space with an ethereal sense of openness and flow. Behind the bed, a subtle vertical curve in the lining adds an organic touch while conjuring a delicate dance of soft, ambient light.

A striking feature of this design is the creative use of textured and painted concrete brick, which – now adorned in pristine white – takes on a new identity. It becomes tactile and attractive, radiating warmth and character, while creating a fascinating contrast to the other design elements.

Opposite the bed, a timber TV unit, elegantly sprayed in white, offers a touch of simplicity and functionality. This unit extends seamlessly into a walk-in wardrobe adorned with oak veneer, introducing a rich contrast. The wardrobe serves as a backdrop behind the eye-catching eclectic partition, adding depth and intrigue to the overall composition.

In this bedroom, diverse elements – contemporary design, organic textures, natural influences, and thoughtful contrasts – harmoniously unite to form a captivating living space. It stands as a charming sanctuary where the interplay of materials and the artful interweaving of light create an exceptionally unique and inspiring ambiance. Additionally, spike lights were strategically positioned to backlight the plants, creating mesmerising shadows on the barrel vault ceiling. 

This interplay of light and shadow enhances the overall sense of comfort and tranquility in the room, adding depth and creating a captivating and inviting atmosphere.

“One of the most positive aspects of this project was the complete trust my client had in my vision,” stated Maria. “From the outset, we collaborated to develop the project’s briefing, discussing layout options, style, and color schemes. After that, I was given the creative freedom to proceed. I took charge of developing the concept design, creating detailed working drawings, and overseeing site implementation. Despite being a small project, I had to coordinate with various tradespersons and workmen, ensuring they collaborated effectively to achieve a seamless final result.”

“This project did come with its fair share of challenges. It required precision when fixing linear profile lighting within the gypsum vault – particularly, where it met the TV unit and wardrobe – given the skewed back wall. The intricate patterns in the gypsum partition added complexity, and the organic concrete curved forms served multiple functions, such as housing the bespoke sofa and forming a solid backing to the bed, while also creating a hollow bed base with a perimeter constructed in bricks.”

Ultimately, the successful outcome of this project was the result of meticulous detailed working drawings, exceptional workmanship, effective teamwork, and unwavering dedication between the designer and the various tradespersons involved. 

All lighting systems were provided by Light Design Solutions.

M+ Design Studio

5, St. Gregory Street, Sliema

+356 7920 7890

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