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IN CONVERSATION WITH ANDINA & TAPIA

Always searching for creative challenges and unique solutions, Andina & Tapia design studio was created by the uber talented Mónica Andina and Fernando Tapia who have extensive backgrounds in art and interior design.

Coincidentally, the design gene comes into play here – Mónica and Fernando are actually cousins of mine! I had the opportunity to meet them during a trip to Madrid, and it was an amazing experience.  All members of their family seem to be doing something related to culture.  Seeing and discussing Spain with other designers allowed me to appreciate and enjoy architectural and artistic elements so much more.

Mónica and Fernando are not limited to their work in Spain however, they have worked globally with clients including L’Oreal, The Marriott Group, Nebraska Group, Roca and Mercedes Benz; in addition to their more local work with clients such as the Royal Spanish Academy Madrid Community, and Christie’s in Spain.

Andina & Tapia’s work has been published by Architectural Digest, Nuevo Estilo, Elle Decor, Hola! and many more. Their impressive portfolio and sophisticated interiors never ceases to amaze me or the press.

Want to learn more about this talented duo? Please read on to get in on the conversation…



Fernando Tapia y Mónica Andina


Iván Meade – What is story behind Andina & Tapia; how did the two of you decide to work together?

Andina & Tapia – The first thing that got us together is the fact that we are cousins and have been very close friends since we were kids…

Back in 2004, Mónica already had an interior design studio and Fernando established himself in Madrid (with a background in art, and design as a passion). We collaborated on a project and it went so well that the idea of working together suddenly arose… After that, one project led to another, and now, neither of us would consider working individually.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – In my own experience, I have found that having a male and female working together creates the most balanced design. How do you feel this partnership influences your work and makes you stand out from other designers?

Andina & Tapia – It’s true, we really believe that working together and having those different perspectives is very enriching, not only for us, but also for the projects.

We always start the creative process for a project working together, and our differences make us come up with unique ideas. Not only the male/female difference, but also our tastes, ambitions, and inspirations are all very personal, and even opposite sometimes. That being said, we also have thousands of things in common including our general points of view, which are very close.

It’s interesting that after the initial meeting with a client, we usually know who will take the lead the project… the one that felt closer to the client’s aesthetics, ideas or goals.

Being a team of two is very helpful for us, rethinking a proposal from a new perspective, giving energy to one another, or just adding a touch of color or life to a space.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – Who or what has influenced your personal design style?

Mónica Andina – Style… I believe I still have years ahead of me to find and develop my own signature style.  Each client also helps me evolve and improve my aesthetic.  Overall, every project has its own style in mind, even the space requests a certain style.  I often get inspired by the strength of  Barragan lines, Junichiro Tanizaki with his Elogy to the Shade, even Saarinen, or the Eames are big influences in my life and style.

Fernando Tapia – I think style comes naturally from all of our aesthetic experiences, no matter the source. When designing, so many influences and designers come to mind!! I can find myself thinking of Hicks, YSL, Philip Glass and Fontana at the same time when trying to visualize a space.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – What was the first experience that you had with design?

Mónica Andina – When I was a child, I used to make model homes using my father’s cigar boxes. I would have a lot of fun using  them for creative space planning.  I also had the experience of living in México, and their colours, textures and incredible flavour intensified my need to create spaces  that have their own beauty.

Fernando Tapia – When I was very young, we spent summer holidays in a country house my family has in Segovia. We used to spend a lot of time redecorating – painting the rooms, looking for antiques… And I was lucky enough to have my aunt (Spanish renowned interior designer Isabel Garcia-Tapia) living next door, and she would always guide us.

Her approach to the space, her use of fabrics, color and antiques, made me realize there was something behind it all… Design!


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – How would you describe your style?

Andina & Tapia – We like thinking we are not fixed to a specific style, and love using different interpretations depending on the project; but at the end, it’s true that there are some style guidelines that somehow are always present in our projects.

Having a defined style makes it easier when designing, but forces you to work harder to find the piece that fits not only the space, but also the person. When you do though, it is worth it.

Mixing is very important for us; 100% any particular style seems too obvious, but  having antiques and contemporary pieces in the same space, the use of color and creating clean and structured distributions of space and furniture, etc. seem to be part of our ID.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – Your residential projects are truly inspiring.  To me, they serve as a design lesson on restraint and how to mix different styles while maintaining the personality of the home’s inhabitant.  How do you convey your design aesthetic in a way that complements your client’s needs?  Is the idea of bringing unique pieces (perhaps that are antique or great finds) a hard sell for your clients?

Andina &Tapia – Thanks, “Inspiring” is a nice word to describe our work. We really make an effort to try to understand the client’s style. We want our projects to talk about the clients personality in order to achieve spaces that are unique; but yes, proposing the more unique ideas sometimes overshadows the bigger picture before the client can visualize it.

I think this has a lot to do with the working procedures, we like creating an initial general concept for the projects and once that is defined, we search for the special pieces that will add “soul” to the space; although sometimes it happens the other way around, a special piece inspires the space and the design is built around it… But in the end, all of our designs revolve around injecting the projects with pieces that have great identity.

We also think that confidence in our work is very important in our relationship with the clients; this confidence is often the key to a project being the best it can be.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – You have had the opportunity to work in other European countries such as France, Hungary, and Greece; I believe you have also been recently invited to work in México? How do you adapt your design aesthetic to the country’s culture?

Andina & Tapia – It is very interesting because in general, when we have been hired for an international project, one of the first motivations of the clients is typically to get something “not very local”,  but indeed, the essence of an interior cannot ignore its location.

So far, it has been easy. Europe has general influences, although each region has it’s particularities and Monica has lived in Mexico, so that’s easy for her as well. In any case, books are very helpful, as are conversations with the clients, and a hint of intuition.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – One of the dreams of every designer is, at some point in their careers, to do international work – How do you balance your local work in Madrid with your international projects?  What has been the biggest challenge, and how did you resolve it?

Andina & Tapia –  In terms of daily work, there’s not a big difference – only the fact that you have to travel more… Until now it has been easy because international projects have come in succession, so it was easy to spend the time needed with each one; but having a lot of international projects concurrently would indeed be very demanding.

The most difficult part is always finding local craftsmen and upholsterers for things that need to be done locally. We truly believe that the team of craftsmen that work with an interior designer are one of the designer’s most important assets, and starting all over again when you get to a new country is very difficult.

Finding trades you can trust comes from going through contacts shared by colleagues, by the client or their friends, magazine ads, etc., and a lot of times, a big part of the work is done in Madrid and shipped to the site.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – You have had the opportunity to design restaurants, as well as work with important companies such as L’Oreal, and Mercedes Benz, producing beautiful commercial & hospitality designs – How do you translate your design aesthetic from residential to commercial?

Andina & Tapia – Commercial design always starts with the use and functionality, secondly, the design has to match the brand or its aspirations. In many cases however, what works for residential will also work for commercial, and we try to fuse both sectors, bringing residential inspiration to commercial spaces sometimes gives strength to the design.

We are both very “homey” and I think somehow, we try to convey that in our commercial projects. Cold and impersonal spaces (although sometimes wonderful,) are not our cup of tea; so I believe that´s why we are hired – to create spaces that do not necessarily look very “commercial”.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – What would be your dream project?

Mónica Andina – My dream is to get a client with the energy to create something where we had unlimited power with the creativity, and the practicality is only a small percentage of the job. Something fun and unique, in which the idea of the project generates the memorability of the project itself.  Hard to explain but it is a dream of mine.

Fernando Tapia – I would love to do a boutique hotel with very few rooms, we have collaborated with other designers in making proposals for hotels, and I find the concept of designing a room for anonymous users from very different backgrounds and countries very interesting; it is like trying to find what is globally understood and interesting in terms of design.


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – What is next for Andina & Tapia?

Andina & Tapia – Who knows, hopefully something unexpected, new and interesting. We don’t look to the future with economical ambition, but we do dream about the type of project there is yet to come…


Interiors by Andina & Tapia

Photographs courtesy of Nuevo Estilo


Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

Andina & Tapia – We are too young to start talking about legacy… but spaces with designs that last beyond what was fashionable when they where conceived, pieces of furniture that seem valuable after many years, and hopefully – a list of clients happy to have decided to work with us.


I invite you to visit Andina & Tapia’s stunning body of work at their website: