Designing an Experience to Remember: An Inside Look into Daria Maksimova’s Creative Process

by Tom White
Daria Maksimova inside the Barbie Dreamhouse, World of Barbie, Santa Monica, 2023

As a lead designer of immersive and interactive experiences with multi-million dollar
budgets, Daria Maksimova’s footprint spans over 10,000 square feet and includes
collaborations with top-selling brands such as Mattel (Barbie), Dr. Seuss, Nerf
(Hasbro), and Disney. With a portfolio that has taken her across North America to
prestigious venues like Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, it’s no wonder she
has been making waves in the industry for nearly a decade.

This April, Daria’s design expertise shines with the opening of the World of Barbie in
Santa Monica, California, coinciding with the Barbie film premiere this summer. As
the lead designer of this 20,000-square-foot immersive experience, Daria has always
dreamed of a show that she designed opening in Santa Monica, making this
accomplishment a significant career highlight.

Fashion Studio, World of Barbie, Santa Monica, 2023

“Barbie continues to be one of the most fashionable toys on the planet. The brand
always maintained its global trendsetter role.” – says Daria. While designing World of
Barbie, Maksimova drew a lot of inspiration from the new Barbie Style movement
that features different Barbie dolls in familiar environments. For fashion lovers, there
is a fashion studio with a display of miniature doll shoes, as well as a Barbie closet
filled with stylized garments and a collection of pumps.

Barbie Dreamhouse Wardrobe, World of Barbie, Santa Monica, 2023

Specifically for the World of Barbie premiere in Santa Monica and in collaboration
with one of the most recognized hair care brands Paul Mitchell, Daria designed an
interactive hair salon that follows the Barbie aesthetic and features a beautiful
display of Paul Mitchell’s products, as well as interactive mirrors that let visitors try
on different hairstyles and immediately snap a photo.

Paul Mitchell Salon Area, World of Barbie, Santa Monica, 2023

Another successful project that Daria led as a designer is called the Dr. Seuss
Experience and is produced by Kilburn Live in partnership with Dr. Seuss
Enterprises. This touring show just reopened in Tysons Corner Center in
Washington, DC, continuing to entertain diverse audiences across the U.S.
As Daria navigates the challenges of designing large-scale experiences, she has
learned important lessons she shares with others. One of the biggest challenges
Daria has faced is maintaining a sense of ease during the project, as she admits that
“the process involves a lot of technical, hard work.” As a lead designer, she has also
had to learn how to refill her tank with inspiration and energy to continue creating
successful and engaging experiences.

Daria believes in the importance of investing in one’s taste, which consists of layers
of processed information and experiences that greatly affect the quality of work,
while continuous practice helps her translate ideas into a physical form more
accurately. Daria envisions her portfolio continuing to grow in the coming years, and
she recognizes the power of design and responsibility that come with her role.
One of Daria’s dreams is to create an immersive experience for a fashion show.
“Fashion world continues to be a huge source of inspiration and creativity, and we
can see the trend now where runways are not just showcasing a new collection but
turning into immersive shows.”

With an impressive track record of success and a dedication to her craft, Daria
Maksimova is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the world of immersive
experiences. As she continues to innovate in this unique field of design, there’s no
doubt that her captivating creations will inspire and entertain for years to come.

Presented by: S99

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