As a designer Greg Natale has a passion for pushing boundaries. “Who wants to be boring?” he asks with a laugh. Boring is not something Greg needs to worry about. Since opening his studio in 2001, Greg has focused on the integration of architecture, design and decoration. As a result his portfolio shows a bold, eclectic range of commercial, retail and residential work with a layered, intricate understanding of colour and pattern. “Pattern and colour come naturally to me. I don’t struggle with them,” says Greg. “I have a strong design style; people don’t come to me to do beige-on-beige. I’m dying to do a really pared back interior, but people don’t usually come to me for that.”
As part of his 360-degree approach, Greg has designed a range of “residential, wood-based” furniture for Mortice and Tenon and a line of “minimal” furniture for Stylecraft. And, in his most recent collaboration, Greg has joined forces with Designer Rugs for a collection of six distinctive New Zealand wool rugs. “With the integration of design and decoration, rugs are very important,” says Greg. “Rugs add the decoration, but they also anchor all the furniture.”
With names like Corfu, Malibu and Monte Carlo, you might expect the collection to have a relaxed, laid-back vibe. But, in fact, the opposite is true. “The whole rug collection came from my passion for repeat patterns. I love the structure of repeat patterns, and architecturally they work well in a room because they can be viewed from four sides.”
The collection also brings together ideas that Greg gathered on his world travels. For instance, South Beach was inspired by the screen wall of an Art Deco building he saw there, while Palm Springs was inspired by a historical Chinese pattern glimpsed in that desert oasis.
Brimming with passion and vision, Greg continues his quest for integration and innovation in his work, and encourages his clients to join him on that holistic design journey. “I’m not a really serious person, I don’t think it has to be very serious. But work should have layers behind it to make it interesting,” he says. “Take risks, push the boundaries – you’ll get a more interesting outcome.”