Mari Balestrazzi MArch '97
Raised by a father from Italy who taught high school in California, and a mother who worked for the airline industry, Mari grew up with a passion for travel, and a curiosity about people, life, and the built environment in different parts of the world. This background, in turn, has deeply shaped her career in the hospitality industry. Mari loves this industry for its ability to make compelling design accessible. When we travel to celebrate weddings, reunite with family and friends, or discover new places, hospitality environments create the settings for some of our most memorable experiences.
Most recently, Mari joined Airbnb to lead the Environments Design team, the group within Airbnb responsible for the physical expression of the brand. As Director of Operations for Environments, Mari oversees the team that designs Airbnb’s offices worldwide, and collaborates with real estate developers to create new models of housing design that can support Airbnb’s model of resident hosting.
Previously, Mari was Vice President of Design Services for Hyatt Hotels, where she oversaw design for Hyatt’s portfolio of full-service hotel brands, throughout the Americas region. As Senior Vice President of Design for the Morgans Hotel Group, Mari was responsible for multiple award-winning designs. She was also Global Director of Design for St. Regis Hotels at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Before transitioning to in-house design roles, Mari got her start as Studio Director for Aero Studios Limited in New York City. There she oversaw new construction and renovation projects, both residential and commercial, including the hotel 60 Thompson and Giorgio Armani’s private residence in Manhattan.