While those around him dreamed in white, Greg Natale envisaged a world of pattern, texture, layered geometrics. It was just a pleasure to have this opportunity. Enjoy the chase to get to know him a little better.
AL: How have you decided to embrace your profession?
GN: I live design. My home, my car, my clothes, my work and the circles I move in – they’re design-centric. My profession is just an extension of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
AL: What do you love about your work?
GN: I love that design is a career that allows for personal expression. There are many jobs out there (all of them important and wonderful) but for me, I thrive in a career that allows for boundless creativity, bringing spaces to life and making people happy. I also love that no two days are the same.
AL: Who inspired to grow, personally and professionally?
GN: My parents came here in the 1950s with a suitcase and a dream – to make a better life for me and my sisters. I’m indebted to them.
AL: Where did you grow up? Do you think the places we live in have influence in our lives somehow?
GN: I grew up in Sydney, Australia. My parents were migrants from Calabria in Italy. Without a doubt our heritage and our upbringing impact on our lives. For me my work is a fusion of my cultural heritage and my parents’ dream home that they built in the 1970s – it was all about colour, pattern and brass. It was fantastic. Decoratively right through to my work ethic. My upbringing was a crazy melting pot with my four older sisters – and I really am grateful for it!
AL: How would you describe your style? Do you have a signature touch?
GN: My style is very layered. I always liken interior design to tailoring a suit or garment. It must be personalized and precisely considered. I achieve this with pattern on pattern, so carefully layered over textures. I am a BIG fan of a graphic element and many of my product lines explore pattern with bold contrasts and black against white. Many people consider this my signature look, but my style is quite varied. We recently completed a four level waterfront home on Sydney Harbour that was white layered over white. A very soft look that many might not have expected from our studio. I love to evolve and experiment.
AL: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
GN: Everywhere. I know how clichéd that sounds – but the fact is that when you’re a visual, creative person you’re constantly.
AL: What do you love to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
GN: Work. Interior.
AL: In your opinion, what is the perfect place to relax and get inspired?
GN: To be honest – I’m not a huge fan of laying back and relaxing. But there’s no secret that one of my favourite places on earth is New York City. I am there every year – more than once often. I come away from there inspired and reinvigorated every time. It has such an energy and pace to it that I just love.
AL: Do you work better under pressure or with time to plan and organize?
GN: I’m a bit of both. My staff would say I work better under pressure. Look, it’s really a case-by-case situation. Some projects fly out the door having been worked on till the very last. Others are so naturally evolving and sequential. It’s always different. That’s not a bad thing.
AL: Describe yourself in three words.
AL: Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about? Any new projects?
GN: We are in the final stages now of our first hotel project. The existing hotel is in a wine region North of Sydney called The Hunter Valley. We have redesigned all the eighty guest rooms and the complement of public areas. Many of the spaces will include my new furniture collection which will be released in 2016. This is a big project and we’re very excited to show you more early next year.
AL: Can you talk about one of your favorite projects that you have developed?
GN: My own home is a labour of love. It’s a very different thing to design for yourself, especially when you are limited with space and you can only renovate or redecorate every so often. My partner is often driven mad by me tweaking arrangements or bringing new items home!
AL: What are your favorite materials to work?
GN: At the moment I am loving stones and metals. Brass and marble are such versatile materials that they can take on such different looks and in different spaces they contribute something new or surprising, every time. My new office building in Sydney I have used great expanses of plaster with a polished finish on all the walls and the effect is wonderful. The floor is a mixture of marble and of honed terrazzo. I really love the luster and texture that these materials offer when treated in new ways.
AL: Which major international events do you attend/follow to get all the latest novelties?
GN: I am obsessed with Maison et Objet in Paris – the sheer volume and breadth on offer there is mind blowing. I love this event. I have never attended Maison et Objet in Singapore, though in 2016 I will be appearing there as part of the official program. I’m very excited to see how this Asian installment of the format will differ and build on the French event.
AL: Which professionals do you admire, in the design and architecture world?
GN: Im a great fan of the late, great fashion designer Haltson. His designs are so inspirational and his personal story really resonates. IN terms of interiors and architects, I often look to Australian architect Harry Seidler for great moments of inspiration and the remarkable interiors of UK designer David Hicks are very much guiding lights. So much to learn from these groundbreakers.
Hope you all enjoy it as much as us. It was just a great pleasure to have this opportunity. Thanks Greg for your time and availability.