Women in Office Design – Alison Monteith
Monthly Column By Women in Office Design
Alison Monteith – Managing Director at People-Centric Interior / Workplace Design practice, Monteith Scott – talks to us about life as a student, an interior designer and also more recently a pro-age model…
“I was a below average student at school; scraped two lowish grade A levels in Art and English. Foundation Course at Stourbridge College of Art for a year. I was, again, below average.
I wasn’t motivated to be an interior designer but knew I needed a course that was more problem solving than pure, self-driven creativity. I applied for a diploma course at Trent Poly (I had been given the distinct impression I wasn’t degree material!) and was accepted. They gained degree status, so I was on the first year of the four year sandwich course.
It was my placement at Michael Aukett in London when the penny dropped; first project back, I was accused of cheating by the staff because my work had matured significantly. I got a first class degree, then a distinction in my MA studies at Leicester Poly. I didn’t start out in workplace; I worked in London for the first 10 years of my career, in retail and commercial/public space interiors. The first workplace project was for Courtaulds in Coventry in 1992, when workplace was called office!”
Daily Life …
“I am still technically managing director of Monteith Scott, which for the last three years has been myself and my husband, but it is now me, and I am no longer doing project work. Available for consultancy but I am no longer prepared to work with or for people I don’t like on boring projects!”
Advice to aspiring workplace designers …
“Know your value. Never let yourself be “bought” for less than you are worth. Your value is not in the hours you may spend on a project, but the years of experience behind those hours. Do not undersell yourself.”
“This industry, by which I mean construction which is the industry I consider I worked within, whilst it is so male can always do better. I don’t think that it has truly improved in all my time within it, it’s just the misogyny is less overt. And don’t get me started on ageism!”
Alison is a member of Women in Office Design.