In the Life Through Design series, King Living explores the landscape of Australian design – both current and future – through the eyes of Australian designers and creatives, and how they interpret the Australian aesthetic in their work. In the fifth instalment, we interview King Living’s Global Head of Brand, Natalie Culina, who in many ways, is the guardian behind King Living’s brand.
With a pedigree of working with iconic Australian brands, Natalie brings a deep understanding of the Australian aesthetic and vision for King Living – to ensure the brand evokes the Australian spirit of being relaxed, confident and authentic. With almost two dozen showrooms across Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Canada, Natalie has a monumental task to ensure that the brand strategy is overlayed across the customer’s entire experience, and that all touchpoints remain true to the DNA of the brand.
Natalie’s own style sensibilities are inspired by the tactile language of materials and textures, and complemented with her exposure to the calibre of creatives she regularly collaborates with, brings an enthralling combination to her work in delivering an iconic and unique vision for the King Living brand.
Natalie photographed by Kristina Soljo at the Turrella headquarters.
King Living: What's your favourite King Living product?
Natalie Culina: The Delta. Since its introduction in 1998, the Delta has revolutionised Australian furniture and introduced a new appreciation for flexible living with its modular functionality. It also reveals the essence of the era it was created in but also transcends time with its timeless aesthetic.
Delta’s functional concepts are ingenious and intuitive and embodies the King Living design ethos in all facets. Its ability to be reconfigured into many different settings where you can expand for entertaining or transform into a luxurious bed for two.
Delta has also seen its fair share of the spotlight over the years and was chosen as the sofa of choice for the 2006 Vanity Fair Oscars party. It also made a cameo on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
The Delta III Sofa in the luxurious Roma Tan leather.
Do you have a signature style?
NC: Yes. It would be a combination of an understated approach, monochromatic palettes, with a hint of organic shapes and natural finishes. I also focus a lot on materiality and texture instead of colour and boldness. I feel the word “authentic” can be overused at times however, I strongly feel that your home and personal style must reflect the story of who you are.
Where does your inspiration come from?
NC: Everything around me inspires me. In particular, my field of work exposes me to some of the most beautiful spaces, the most incredible designers, stylists, creatives and photographers in this country. Their work inspires a new way of thinking for me and we all share a common theme of a strong affiliation for the Australian aesthetic.
The new Flagship Showroom in Moore Park, Sydney designed by Biasol Interior Design.
What do you think defines Australian design?
NC: The approach. Some of the best Australian architects I believe, approach function before form with a very pragmatic, authentic and raw sense of innovation, with a high consideration to the elements of the environment and materiality used. There isn’t an exacting visual identity, however, Australian design can be sensed through the attitude toward the approach. Given the geographical seclusion, Australia can really define its own signature which is heavily influenced by a strong sense of freedom. The Australian approach to design is aligned to this idea of freedom and unique way of thinking, which is characterised by our attitude, mixed cultural influences and strong resourcing, complete with a unique imagination.
The new Flagship Showroom in Moore Park, Sydney designed by Biasol Interior Design,
What do you think the future holds for Australian design?
NC: I think Australian design will inspire the rest of the world in the very near future with its strong sense of freedom and confidence through design.
If you had to articulate the Australian Design aesthetic in 5 words, what would it be?
NC: Understated. Raw. Sensible. Confident. Simple.