Careers guide: Claudia Orsetti describes how she became project leader at Heatherwick Studio

Claudia Orsetti joined Heatherwick Studio six years ago, having previously worked at architecture firms SANAA and ACME. For the Dezeen Jobs careers guide, she explains how she worked her way up to project leader.

Orsetti's role at Heatherwick Studio involves leading the strategic thinking of her team, offering guidance and advice through all stages of design.

"My role is to help the team come up with the best possible ideas, tackling – or sometimes challenging – the briefs that our clients bring to us," Orsetti told Dezeen.

After completing her architecture studies in Rome, Orsetti moved to Switzerland to complete her masters, where she studied at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio. It was here Orsetti met legendary Swiss architects Peter Zumthor and Valerio Olgiati, amongst many others.

"Having the chance to learn from this incredible group of architects was definitely the point in my life when I understood that I wanted to be in this industry, and that I wanted to do it at that level," said Orsetti.

She then moved to Tokyo to work at Japanese studio SANAA, but following the 2011 earthquake in Fukushima, Orsetti moved to London to join ACME.

"At the time [ACME] was a young and up-and-coming practice. I found their way of experimenting with concept ideas quite interesting," she explained.

Orsetti's first project at Heatherwick Studio was 1000 Trees in Shanghai, working as an architect on the façade package. She soon progressed to lead the delivery of building exteriors at the practice.

"I worked on that project for over three and a half years; it is currently still on-site and it is amazing to finally see it coming to life," she said.

Now a project leader, Orsetti works on a range of projects, overseeing all phases of design, from small objects to large masterplans: "The focus is always on projects that can have the greatest public impact."

She said the opportunity to be creative and guiding team dynamics is the most enjoyable part of her job.

"It's very interesting to learn how a team's unique energy can generate different outcomes," she said. "If the team doesn't work harmoniously, it can show in the results."

Orsetti lists design talent, resilience and commitment as essential skills for those looking to pursue a similar career, but she believes being passionate is the most important quality to own as a designer.

"Being an architect is a passion more than a job," she said.

Read the interview on Dezeen Jobs