Nicole and the Disinji team are inspired by the project’s unique characteristics – the programme, history of the site, location and orientation, and the client’s brief and stylistic preferences.
Nicole Turner Galea is an interior designer and co-founder of Disinji Design Studio.
She explains her passion for interior design as having stemmed from her fond interests in the arts. She reminisces that, from a very young age, she was always drawing and painting. It was always her ambition “ to transform the effect that the arts have through the designing of artistic interiors."
Nicole considers that academic and professional formation is important in the practice and art of design. She underscores the importance of the ability to understand the principles and
fundamentals of design and construction, design theories and the history of design.
“This is vital,” says Nicole. As is learning various trade tools and media whilst gaining knowledge of the laws and regulations of the industry.
She considers her personal experience of having had the opportunity to study in various workshops such as wood, metal, and textiles, and a wide range of units on sustainability, furniture design, and project management enhanced further her knowledge and skills. On the other hand, gaining experience in the real design world and coming into contact with various professionals and suppliers strengthen her knowledge.
The problem-solving situations that designers encounter during the delivery of the
project can only be achieved through practice and lessons learnt in the practical world.
Nicole’s journey into the world of interior design was marked, during her studies, by the
opportunity to work as a personal assistant to (interior Designer) Vera Sant Fournier. During her one-year experience at Vera Sant Fournier Interior Design Studio, Nicole had first-hand
experience of the real-life of an interior designer. The duties, responsibilities, and workflow-
enabled her to grow both personally and professionally.
Today, she is a co-founder at Disinji - An. interior design studio which is co-founded with another interior designer and an architect. This young dynamic works effectively – merging their knowledge and undertaking different roles that enhance the design process.
Nicole and the Disinji team are inspired by the project’s unique characteristics - the programme, history of the site, location and orientation, the client’s brief and stylistic preferences. The exploitation of these unique characteristics lays down the basis for a client-oriented design strategy.
“Adapting our design strategy to fit the client’s stylistic preferences is always a struggle, however, we have learnt that stepping out of your comfort zone has proven to result in a more profound proposal,”
Further to the unique characteristics of the client and site, it is also imperative to adopt the right choice of materials and the correct use of geometry.
The common denominator in all the Disinji projects is a rigorous design process. Asking the
right questions, research and obtaining the correct information for the design brief enables the Disinji team to design a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment.
Nicole ruefully indicates that one of the recurring challenges to the completion and delivery of a project is the delays brought out by unforeseen circumstances. These delays are usually the
result of latent defects that are not observed upon initial site inspections. It is only after stripping the site of existing finishes that one can understand the true nature of the space. It is at this point that certain surprises come to light.
Another problem that is faced is the balance between the aesthetics and the clients’
requirements. The challenge is to filter the client’s needs and expectations when designing the space holistically, and integrating all the functional elements without compromising the vision for the space.
When a complex project comes in, the very first step as a studio is to bring everyone on site for a meeting. Communication is very important and making sure that everyone knows their role in the project enables a smoother operation. Issuing daily reports, a list of works, Gantt charts and having a good project management workflow are ways to reduce arising problems throughout the project and ensure smooth operation.
At Disinji, sustainability lies at the core design principle. Unfortunately, sustainable products are more expensive than their traditional options. Every project is a new challenge to promote
sustainable products. “We will keep striving to implement sustainable products for the projects to come”. Unfortunately, local sustainable products are not as popular, therefore international shipping of such products must be done” Due to the current pandemic situation and the negative impact of this on the process of logistics, importation, in general, has become far more expensive. Therefore, integrating sustainable products has become a harder task. As an interior designer, Nicole reiterates her passion for the creation of innovative internal experiences. The state of the built environment gives her and her colleagues at Disinji an opportunity to shock and amuse, as people move from the outside to the interior of a building.
Nicole thinks that interior designers have no control over the state of the external built
environment, however “it is our daily goal to design aesthetically pleasing and sustainable
Nicole attests that the Disinji studio team is very excited about the future of interior design in
Malta. With every project the studio is commissioned with, they are always learning and growing as a company. Gathering knowledge on advancements in design, ranging from technologies, fittings and materials enables them to design endless solutions. Having sustainability so close to the workflow, the more competition there is in the sustainable product market, the easier it would be to integrate and purchase such products and materials.
“We are very keen to push towards a more professional approach to the enhancement of the
world of creativity”.