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Design Profile: Madalena De Barros

Design Principal Madalena De Barros shares the workplace trends she's seeing, her favourite design era and who has influenced her career.

With nearly two decades of diverse sector experience including commercial, residential and retail, Madalena currently leads design for our Sydney studio. Unispace was delighted to welcome her to our global team earlier this year.

What workplace trends are you seeing?

​The one consistent trend is the demand for flexibility - workspaces designed to adapt and evolve over time to meet individual needs and expectations of choice in the workplace.

What are your client's highest priorities for their new workplace? ​

There's a growing emphasis on people and employee engagement. Clients are now seeing the workplace as an opportunity to not only reflect their brand and ethos, but also amplify the output and performance of their people.

Have these priorities changed from a decade ago?

​Focus on promoting user comfort and effectiveness has recently transitioned to promoting regular movement in the workplace and employee engagement.

How do you envision we’ll be working in 2025?

​We're moving towards a nomadic style of working - where work is something people do, not a place they go. Workplace communities that personify social, cultural and functional needs will become fundamental. People will go into the office, not to get work done, but to connect with their team.

Who has been the greatest influence on your career?

​While I was working on the One Shelley Street office building for Macquarie Group, I was fortunate to have met Clive Wilkinson​. It was this chance meeting that changed my perspective of workplace design and inspired me to do more than give offices a facelift, but to design and build creative communities that allow people to connect​ with one another, and give them a sense of belonging.

What inspires you about design: ​The details in design are not just details. They make the design.

Favourite decade of design:​ My love of mid-century furniture from the 50s. I'm inspired by iconic furniture designers such as Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen and Hans Wegner​ who designed some of the most iconic pieces of all time.