Interior design has a long history of gender stereotyping, with misconceptions lingering that the industry is a feminine sector.
Perhaps in part due to the traditional, and archaic, homemaker roles assigned to women, interior design is still to this day associated with features such as ruffles, throw pillows and flowers. While these features may very well have their place in some designs, they do not define this industry and should not be the keystone of a highly influential and important sector.
Men working in the interior design sector should be judged on their abilities and their abilities alone, without their gender or professional style creating limitations.
Architect and designer Greg Natale is gaining national acclaim for his broad stroke masculine interior design of an Elizabeth Bay apartment.
Featured in Inside Magazine, Natale’s designs offer a darker view into residential design that offers as much glamour and luxurys as its highly feminine counterparts.
While the dark tones which feature throughout the 1970s built structure could overwhelm even this bright harbourfront apartment, the designer’s use of varying textures and tones, in addition to minimalist pops of colour, allow the space a smoky romanticism that is rare in lighter, brighter interiors.
Natale explains that was the client’s overall goal for the space.
“The client wanted a very specific look and feel,” says Natale. “He had seen a black interior I had done previously and wanted something similar but even more masculine.”
While this is a definitive design orientation, the starkness of black on black can be incredibly austere, much as lace on feathers on floral has the potential to be incredibly suffocating.
Finding the right balance without losing the desired punch was a key challenge that the designer had to elegantly overcome. Natale did just that, producing a stunningly masculine space that doesn’t feature sporting emblems or resemble a locker room.
When this sector is considered highly feminine or ‘girly’ – as is sadly still the case among many – both industry professionals and clients are being done a major disservice. This kind of pigeonholing sucks up inspiration, limits design possibility and creates restrictions in design where there needn’t be any. Style, design and taste are so unique and so fluid that placing stereotypes – gender or otherwise – on them is stifling and wrong.
When stereotypes are removed, stunning developments such as the aforementioned apartment are allowed to exist, which opens the door to other possibilities.