Next Generation Global Design
Olivia Mathisen @ Woods Bagot
Olivia Mathisen is an interior designer experienced in the design and delivery of a wide range of projects and sectors. Olivia’s keen eye for detail and her passion for innovative design makes her an integral team member of the Woods Bagot Brisbane studio. Project experience includes The Cairns Institute – James Cook University, 1 William Street, Howard Smith Wharves, and most recently Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa refurbishment. Olivia is also Co-President of the Design Institute of Australia’s Queensland branch.
I decided to pursue an interior design degree after taking a gap year after high school. I was tossing up between social work and interiors, and in the end creativity won me over. Upon completion of my studies, I was lucky enough to gain employment at global design firm, Woods Bagot and have been fortunate to work here ever since. Because it is an international firm, I get to work with colleagues around the world on everything from healthcare and education projects, to hotels and multi-residential developments. In 2014, I was elected Co-President of the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) Queensland branch, which has helped to further expand my design networks.
A typical day for me starts with catching up with the team and finding out where everyone is at for the day. We’re a tight knit team, sharing ideas and collaborating on all projects in the studio, so we try to be one step ahead where possible. Client meetings here and there, progressing documentation for future projects, and checking in on current projects on site largely makes up the rest of my day.
The majority of our projects are now delivered in Revit, with presentations generated in a combination of InDesign and Photoshop. Software has come a long way since the days of 2D line work in AutoCAD, and now has the ability to let clients virtually walk through their new space. Technology is advancing so quickly that it’s important to stay up to date with latest releases and attend training every chance you can.
Employers are looking for a well-rounded individual, who can easily move from one task to the next. The design industry is fast-paced so you need to be able to think on your feet, and have ability to cope with change – as there is going to be a lot of it! Sound technical knowledge and being confident in CAD/BIM software certainly helps also.
The DIA provides a network of designers across numerous design disciplines including fashion, industrial, graphic and interior. Each branch offers opportunities for students to connect directly with design professionals and transform student learning into professional practice. These personal connections prove vital when trying to score that first job in the industry! Events throughout the year for students include mentoring activities, industry/ studio visits, and portfolio review sessions.
Do anything to give yourself the best chance. Whether that means taking on an extra course in graphics, project management or marketing, or making connections with your local industry branch – it all helps to separate you from the other job applicants.