Monthly Column By

This month’s Women in Office Design (WOD) column features Natasha Bonugli, Global Principal Design, Unispace Global.

Your background and career leading into the workplace sector

I was born and raised in the Boston area to Italian and Portuguese parents. With a father that was a cement mason by trade and a brother who is now a quantity surveyor, the business of construction is clearly in our blood.

I hold a bachelor’s degree in architecture (BArch) from Syracuse University. It was a five-year programme that gave me the opportunity to study abroad in Spain and Italy.

My first real job was for the largest, at that time, construction company in Boston delivering the International Terminal at Logan Airport. Working alongside another architect we were in charge of reviewing the quality of the build. I was based on a construction site wearing a hard hat, boots and carrying a clip board with the latest drawings every day…seems so old fashion now looking back.

In 2005 I arrived in the UK and was hired by Chris Brandon of Pringle Brandon (now Perkins & Will) to work directly with him on the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.

Ten years on, I had just started working at BDG architecture + design as a Director of Workplace when Unispace Global approached me to help them grow the design team across Europe. Over the past 5 years I have played an active role in the significant growth by driving design excellence and actively raising brand awareness.

What particular current concept or solution inspires you?

We have been thinking a lot of the future of office and how we create destination environments that people love being in not have to be in. How the workplace can be deployed in the future to support community building, problem solving and innovation. Through engagement with our clients, data collection, predicative analytics and research, our global strategy and design teams have developed a concept called The Propeller Office.

What advice would you give to somebody wanting to succeed in a similar role to yours?

Remember that everyone fails at some point. Failure only becomes mistakes if you let them stop you in the pursuit of your dreams.

If one door closes, find another one to open. Move on and take your talent and potential somewhere where they will appreciate your value.

Strive for a better life-work balance. Not the other way around or you will risk burning out. This is something that even after an 18-year career I am still battling with. If you veer off path, take a moment to reset and do it often.

Find a mentor. Having someone who can help you navigate the early stages of your career can be invaluable and can move you ahead on the career ladder quicker.



About Women in Office Design

Women in Office Design is a networking and learning platform for like-minded women in the workplace design industry. Founded in May 2018 by Harsha Kotak, an interior designer with a vision to inspire and empower women working in all areas of the office design industry, WOD is a growing network of 1500 plus global members. www.woduk.com
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