Meet graduate Steve Nalci: a visionary problem solver

Steve is a creative with a business degree and in many ways, this sums him up. He is a visionary problem solver.

Steve knew from a young age that he wanted to design things, he wanted to find ways to improve spaces and to use his analytical imagination to generate excellence but it wasn’t going to come easy to him. When he left school, he applied for an Interior Architecture degree, but he felt his sketching skills let him down and he wasn’t successful. This would be a hammer blow to Steve’s confidence and in some ways, it derailed his trajectory. Believing that perhaps it wasn’t for him, he went on to get that business degree. 


Life is too short

After graduating Steve left his home in Germany and moved to the UK.  For the next ten years Steve excelled in business and worked in various tech, engineering, sales and operations roles but, there was always something rumbling inside. A decade in a corporate environment with no creative outlet, is simply not sustainable to an artist. He felt pigeonholed and trapped and was simply trucking through life. Then his father fell ill. His father had previously expressed a desire to do something creative with his life, but he had never found the opportunity to take that leap. This would be the lightbulb moment Steve was waiting for. He took inspiration from his father and decided that life is too short. 

Like a moth to the flame, Steve had been absorbing documentaries about architecture and design and even though all his instincts pointed to some sort of design, he decided to consult a professional. An occupational psychologist helped him see himself clearly and objectively, but it was no great surprise that he was “diagnosed” as a creative problem solver. 

Interior Design has many factions, and a designer can be inspired by colour, textiles and finishings or perhaps they are attracted to the functional, inventive aspects of designing a space? Steve knew which one he was and being the astute individual that he is, he wasn’t going to embark on a new path without making sure it was the right thing for him. There are many courses online and thousands more claiming to be courses but when Steve found British Academy of Interior Design (BAID), he knew it was right. He wanted an accredited academy that was going to not only teach him about Interior Design but would carry weight in the real world.  He also needed to continue working, plus he needed to structure his life around his learning. It was perfect. 

A NIKE office reception entrance concept by Steve Nalci.

Image: Steve Nalci, NIKE Office reception entrance. 3D render created as part of one of his Higher National Diploma course assignments. 


Deep Dive

Steve instantly began ingesting as much as he could. Having been in the world of business for ten years, Steve is acutely aware of the competitive nature of success, and he knew deep down that he was going to need an edge. Fabrics and Furnishings were never going to be his thing, but he still didn’t know what direction he would take. BAID took him on a ‘deep dive’ into a variety of modules and soon he was steered towards his ideal area.

Steve Nalci does not do whimsy! 

He has a diagnostic mind with an imaginative yet scientific approach. Steve was going to home in on one area and own it. When Steve looks at a space, he doesn’t see a colour scheme or a textured rug, he sees structure and spatial potential. He takes a creative approach to a technical problem and looks at how people can live or work best in a space. Steve ponders whether the layout is conducive to efficient foot traffic and movement. Is there an unconventional approach that could improve the flow of the space? These are the design questions Steve asks himself, but the question he has already asked and answered was that this was his calling, this was his area of expertise, and he was going to pursue it with all his heart.

There is a reason the BAID produces successful interior designers. The bar is set high, and students need to meet their expectations. Steve had set his sights on achieving a Distinction, he wanted to immerse himself in the coursework to get that competitive edge. 

So, he quit his job!  

A NIKE office back reception entrance concept by Steve Nalci.

Image: Steve Nalci, NIKE - Office reception back. 3D render created as part of one of his Higher National Diploma course assignments. 


Steve “niche” Nalci

The idea was to immediately pursue placements and work experience but, as fate would have it for so many people like Steve, Covid had other plans. 

Once the world reopened, Steve was armed and ready. He proactively searched for jobs and soon his theory proved correct. Steve had placed himself in a slightly niched position, but he knew he needed to sell himself as a particular type of designer to compete with the large number of designers out there. The highly acclaimed design studio ‘Peter Staunton Interior Design’ needed a Project manager with design sensibilities who is also a CAD designer. It couldn’t be more perfect. 

In the world of Interior Design, Steve is an anomaly. He is not only armed with business and tech skills, but unlike many artists, he is not at all governed by his ego. Steve sees himself as a tool for other designers and he values the concept of collaboration. He is not interested in setting up his own studio or going it alone, Steve enjoys working for a design company and believes his job is to help ‘funnel artistic creatives’ into a project.  He knows himself and knows his strengths and strangely for a designer, he excels within the constraints of a project.

Steve literally went from selling cash-counting machines to drawing floor plans to enhance the personal and professional experiences of living. When you take a creative mind and stir it up with a calculated disposition, you get Steve Nalci. 

A NIKE office reception window concept by Steve Nalci.

Image: Steve Nalci, NIKE Office reception window. 3D render created as part of one of his Higher National Diploma course assignments. 


Inspired by Steve Nalci's story? Want to pursue a career in interior design? Let's start your learning journey together!

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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