Careers guide: Maria Cheung reveals her path to becoming head of interior design at Squire and Partners

Maria Cheung is director and head of interior design at London-based architecture firm Squire and Partners. She describes her career progression for the Dezeen Jobs careers guide.

Cheung oversees the design direction of the interiors department at Squires and Partners, reviewing each proposal's technical aspects, as well as managing planning and resources.

Her role involves working with a network of in-house departments, including the illustration, CGI and model-shop teams.

Cheung described liaising with suppliers as "a particularly interesting facet" of her role. She explained that building strong relationships with external suppliers has led to the "development and innovative application of their products and materials".

"Seeking opportunities like this can turn a factory visit into a treasure hunt," she said.

Her career began after completing her architectural studies at Cambridge and the Architectural Association.

Immediately after graduating, Cheung set up her own practice with architect Bridget Evans, after being offered the opportunity to build an office for a friend.

Maria Cheung is director and head of interiors at Squire and Partners

After working on over 130 residential project at Evans Cheung Architecture, she decided she was "ready for something bigger", so decided to wind up her firm.

"We boxed up our files and blew the last of our petty cash on a bottle of chianti to toast our next endeavours," she said.

Since joining Squire and Partners, Cheung has worked on a number of high-profile projects, including the transformation of an old department store in Brixton into the company's own office.

Her work on The Department Store led to the increase of office and co-working space requests from other firms, including a workplace and private members' lounge for Ministry of Sound.

She said working on The Department Store and the fit-out of a new office headquarters on Stratton Street have been highlights of her career so far.

"In both cases, the clients allowed us the freedom to deliver schemes where the concept was undiluted in the execution and delivered product," she said.

Cheung discussed challenging the perception that "interiors are an isolated part of a building".

"They're actually intrinsic to the architecture, landscape, art, furniture and fittings and the culture of the people using it," she said.

"I love that design can be both universal and a personal expression, and that its boundaries are only what you choose to limit it to."

Read the interview on Dezeen Jobs ›