Designer Profile – Aless Cattaneo

August 14th, 2018

Interior Designer, Department Manager, surfer, brilliant baker and textile guru

We caught up with Jigsaw Interior Architecture’s Aless Cattaneo, on a packed commuter train, as she made her way to a presentation for a client in central London.

The Interior Design Department Manager, who studied fine art at Winchester School of Art, will have been with Jigsaw for four years this month – having ‘accidentally’ fallen into her career after answering an ad in her local newspaper.

With parents who renovated houses – her dad is an Architectural Technician and her mum has always been an interiors enthusiast, design is in her blood …

Q: What is your idea of the perfect room?

AC: Somewhere with high ceilings, lots of light, sea views and an incredibly comfy sofa! A room which has a variety of textures in it

Q: What is your greatest design fear?

AC: Furniture not fitting! It keeps me awake at night! Sometimes things aren’t built as they are drawn on plan, or additional boxing, switches etc appear

Q: Who is your favourite Interior Designer?

AC: Charles and Ray Eames, their contribution to modern architecture and furniture design was incredible, I dream of finding an original coat hook in a junk shop

Q: What is your favourite iconic designer chair?

AC: I think it would have to be an Ercol dining chair. Shaker style simplicity is so beautiful and timeless, they remind me of being at my Nan’s house.

Q: Are you a minimalist or a maximalist?

AC: Both! Personally I’m not a minimalist, my own style is quite eclectic but I tend to design more minimally for show homes.

Q: What do you consider the most overrated design trend?

AC: I think I’ve seen enough flamingos and pineapples for a little while

Q: Open plan or separate living room and kitchen?

AC: If I’m dressing a show home I love an open plan room so that you can see how all the living and dining furniture relates to each other. In my own home I like to be able to close the door on my dishes!

Q: Gold or silver?

AC: Gold… at the moment

Q:: I hear you have an encyclopaedic-like knowledge of Jigsaw’s fabric library by the way, what do you prefer pattern or texture?

AC: Pattern! Lots of it

Q: Shiny and new or preloved vintage?

AC: Preferably both mixed together. I like the idea of old and new sitting side by side, for example a sleek contemporary sofa paired with a vintage trunk for a coffee table.

Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

AC: You’ll have to ask my colleagues that one, my strengths are more visual than language based!

Q: What’s your current state of mind?

AC: It’s Monday morning, it’s a busy commuter train, ask me at the weekend

Q: If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?

AC: I need more hours in the day! A teleporter would be useful too (looking around the train) and to have a space of my own so that I could enjoy what I do at work in my own home, everyone assumes we live in amazing places but my two-bed rental is fairly basic!

Q: What is your greatest design achievement to date?

AC: I think it would probably be the penthouse show home at Palace View in Lambeth. The headboard that I designed for an entire wall of the master bedroom was particularly challenging due to the sloping ceiling. I’ve also recently been working for a private client on his incredible penthouse in Westminster which has been exciting

Q: What do you consider to be a common design mistake?

AC: Not employing an interior designer (smiles)

Q: Who are your real-life design heroes?

AC: My dad, he’s an architectural technician and I love the way Kelly Hoppen accessorises

Q: What is your motto?

AC: Work hard, play hard

Q: If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what would it be?

AC: A striped deck chair, so I can look out to sea and enjoy the sun all day

Q: What do you most value in your colleagues?

AC: A passion for what we do, we inspire each other; and honesty

Q: If you had to pick one interior design style to live with forever what would it be?

AC: I think it would have to be Nordic/Scandi meets beach house

Q: Which historical design movement do you most identify with?

AC: Mid-Century Modern

Q: Favourite Architect?

AC: Gaudi, he was a true one of a kind

Q: Favourite artist?

AC: Anish Kapoor for his infectious sense of fun and the interactive quality of his works

Q: Thank you Aless, good luck with your presentation!

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