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What It’s Like Working At One Of Sydney’s Premier Interior Firms

Dream Job

Relocating from Austria to Australia five years ago, Lisa Dinglemaier today works her dream job as an Interior Designer at award-winning Sydney-based firm Greg Natale Design.

The industrious International School of Colour and Design grad has gone above and beyond to make the most of every opportunity that has presented itself, and people around her have taken notice.

Here she passes on some of her make-it-happen wisdom…

1st February, 2019

Lisa Dingelmaier, 29, works her dream job as Interior Designer at Greg Natale Design. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Lisa (right) working alongside Greg and Senior Interior Designer Doris Sawires (left) in the studio’s Sydney office. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Greg Natale Design’s ‘Alfords Point House’ project. Photo – courtesy of Greg Natale Design.

Inside Greg Natale Studio HQ in Surry Hills. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Studio details. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Greg’s generous mentorship and a part-time role while she was studying at ISCD, gave Lisa an opportunity to utilise their unbelievable library of incredible samples. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Lisa is uber passionate and hardworking – people have noticed! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Greg Natale Design’s ‘Melbourne House’ project. Photo – courtesy of Greg Natale Design.

As a student at ISCD, Lisa dived deep into the theory of colour as well as mastering the elements and principles of design, ‘which definitely honed my skills and fine-tuned my eye for colour and design,’ tells the 29-year-old. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
Friday 1st February 2019

‘Work hard, stay positive, dream big, AND don’t let anyone tell you differently.’ – Lisa Dingelmaier.

Every now and then, you hear those stories of someone entering a competition AND against all statistical odds… winning, whether that be the X-millions super jackpot, or the international trip of their dreams. Lisa Dingelmaier is one of those winners, though, her success wasn’t by chance, and the prize was more of an opportunity.

Austrian-born Lisa enrolled in an Interior Styling and Decoration course at International School of Colour and Design (ISCD) after relocating to Sydney with her Australian partner. Upon completing her certification, she had her heart set on undertaking the Interior Design course with ISCD, and so entered an associated competition where Greg Natale, of the eponymous Sydney-based design studio, was one of the judges. Though not successful, Lisa’s incredibly diligent application (the A5 board she submitted included a QR code to this imaginative video, which she’d worked on for two weeks straight!) made such an impression that ISCD added another award for her. As a result, she was connected to a new mentor and an incredibly valuable industry contact in Greg.

The course guided Lisa through concept-based design, giving her the competence and confidence to design interiors based on a client brief, just like she hoped she ‘would get to in the real world’. Lessons dived deep into the theory of colour as well as mastering the elements and principles of design, ‘which definitely honed my skills and fine-tuned my eye for colour and design,’ tells the 29-year-old. On top of all that, she also took up the opportunity to gain additional industry experience: working as a stylist’s assistant on photo shoots for House & Garden magazine.

The Greg Natale Design connection Lisa has fostered over the duration of her degree provided the key to her eventual career pathway. Working part-time at his revered Surry Hills-based firm, it wasn’t long before the student proved herself an asset to Greg’s team. Upon graduating, she was asked to go full-time as a Junior Interior Designer at the studio in 2016, before more recently being promoted to Interior Designer.

The driven creative gave us more insight into how she got the most out of her studies, and why you should always make plenty of time for a job application that piques your interest…

The most important verb in the get-your-dream-job lexicon is…

… passion.

Passion for your work and a sense of fulfilment go hand-in-hand, it’s all about motivation and getting a job WELL done. When you’re passionate about your work, you always seem to find the energy to work just one more hour, you keep digging until you find answers or make that one more critical phone call.

I landed this job by…

… I entered a competition for a scholarship at ISCD, where Greg was one of the judges. Happily, I was awarded a partial scholarship and with that came three one-on-one mentoring sessions with Greg. He is a great supporter of young designers; not only did I gain so much insight from these sessions during my studies but I was also invited to assist, from time-to-time, in the office when I wasn’t busy in class. Having the opportunity to soak everything up in that environment (how a real job is done and how a creative process works, as well as all the behind-the-scenes work like scheduling, creating amazing mood boards and utilising an unbelievable library of incredible samples), while I was still a student, was incredible.

During that time, I displayed my work ethic and the passion I had, plus I was always keen to help out wherever I was needed. Greg is very passionate about his work, so he recognises this in other people.  Once I finished my studies Greg offered me a position in the studio – a dream come true!

A typical day for me involves…

After a quick coffee, the company’s architecture and interior design teams gather with Greg for a morning work-in-progress meeting, going over current projects and covering off any other matters that have come up.

Next, I usually get on top of emails that have come in overnight – we work with a lot of suppliers and clients overseas so you have to be conscious of the time difference.

Depending on the day, we might have a few supplier presentations in the morning, which keep us up to date with the latest trends and products out there. I enjoy these as they can be very inspirational and get your creative juices flowing.

I usually spend the rest of the day working through projects. This involves working with Greg, the senior designers, our product design team, our graphic designer, and marketing and admin departments. Depending on what stage the project is in, it can vary from helping with concepting new ideas, sourcing materials or products, to calling in samples and pricing from suppliers to ordering furniture, finishes, and fixtures and lastly, helping out with installations.

The most rewarding part of my job is…

… seeing how Greg creates his award-winning spaces and communicates and sells the creative ideas to clients – it’s super exciting being able to be a part of that process.

I deeply enjoy the early stages of a new project, witnessing the concept come together by taking a client’s brief, collecting different materials from stone to timber and fabrics and seeing how Greg brings that all to life – creativity and imagination run free, ideas are bounced around and designs are visualised into a language the client can understand.

On the other hand, the most challenging aspect is…

… multitasking. Working on many projects in various stages and juggling deadlines can be at times stressful. Our interiors and architecture teams usually have up to 30 projects running at any one time. So, you definitely need to keep your cool and be super organised. I have become a big fan of lists!

The culture of my workplace is…

I love working in such a buzzing, creative office full of happy people. Greg works very collaboratively with his clients, and he encourages the sharing of ideas in our studio – we’re creating interiors, architecture, and products, which makes for such a fast-paced atmosphere!

My idea of the perfect workplace is…

… where I am now.

Not only is it providing me with opportunities for growth and development, but our office is also a very inspirational space in which to work. Coming to work every day isn’t hard when you work in such a beautifully designed space too!

The best piece of advice I’ve received is…

… work hard, stay positive, dream big, AND don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Over the years, my workplace has…

… continued to grow and grow. When I first started being mentored by Greg he had just moved the studio into a brand new custom designed headquarters in Surry Hills to accommodate everyone!

Since then, Greg Natale Design has celebrated 17 years in business, and in 2018 released a second book through Rizzoli in New York, as well as began distributing new accessories and product lines around the world. We now have a trade and media showroom, along with warehousing and clients all over the world. It’s been amazing being a part of this!

In the next five years, I’d like to…

… develop new skills, including becoming proficient in more 3-D rendering software like Revit, and improving my AutoCAD skills. I’d like to continue to work with interesting people, and simply see where the opportunities take me. The Maison&Objet trade fair in Paris is definitely on my bucket list!

Find out more about studying interior design at International School of Colour and Design here. They currently offer a Diploma in Interior Design and Decoration (MSF50213), which is delivered on behalf of Academy of Information Technology (ABN 35 094 133 641; RTO 90511; CRICOS 02155J).

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net