Clotilde Passalacqua oversees the interior design of all IKEA stores across the UK and Ireland, guiding a team of specialists to adapt each store to its location. She told Dezeen Jobs how she got there.
Passalacqua leads the home furnishings and retail design team at IKEA's UK head office in London. Her role involves ensuring brand consistency across all mediums, including PR, marketing and TV advertising.
"I have learnt how important it is to lead by example," she told Dezeen Jobs.
"When a large network of interior designers throughout the country are looking to you for direction, they need someone who will inspire them and make them feel passionate about the role that they are doing."
Passalacqua's journey at IKEA started almost 20 years ago in Rome. She initially took a part-time interior design position while she completed her architecture studies, and later joined the interior design team full-time.
"I soon understood that IKEA offered many opportunities to develop and grow," she said. "I loved the fact that if at some point I wanted to go back to working in architecture, it was always a possibility."
Soon after becoming interior design manager in Rome, Passalacqua moved to London continuing the same role at the company’s Wembley office.
Passalacqua has since worked on a range of diverse projects, including an upcoming immersive theatrical experience designed in collaboration with speaker manufacturer Sonos.
She revealed her team are given the opportunity to better understand the everyday needs and challenges of its customers by visiting people in their flats or houses.
"We ask them a lot of questions, from how many times per week they do their grocery shopping and where they usually iron their clothes, to how many shoes they have. We open their drawers and cabinets and check under the stairs," she explained.
Passalacqua details the "diverse environment" and the "opportunity to move nationally and internationally" as key reasons to why she has continued to enjoy working at IKEA.
"[IKEA] dares to be different and this has helped me to achieve great results in my work."