Career Profile: Nathan Lindley

As part of our Career Profile series, we had the privilege of speaking with, Nathan Lindley, Associate Director at SpaceInvader. We’re pleased to share Nathan’s career so far and hope you can find inspiration in his journey to drive forward your own creative career.

Nathan Lindley, Associate Director at SpaceInvader. Image by Pip Rustage

Please could you introduce yourself and SpaceInvader?

Hiya – my name’s Nathan Lindley and I’m an Associate Director at Spaceinvader, having first joined the company in 2017. My main responsibilities include overseeing the perfection of our technical delivery across all projects, as well as nurturing some of our key client partnerships, such as Manchester City Football Club. SpaceInvader, for anyone who doesn’t know the agency, is based in Manchester and is one of the North of England’s premier consultancies for interior design in the workspace, hotel, hospitality and PRS sectors.

When/how did you discover that you had a passion for design?

From an early age, I was mainly interested in creative pursuits, including drawing, sketching and building things in the garden. A few years later on, this developed into making skateboards and building mini ramps and halfpipes for friends. I also had a passion for graffiti and street art. While I was at college, I won a commission to design a coffee shop from scratch. That’s when the passion really kicked in – and I also discovered I could get paid for doing what I loved! I never looked back.

What is your educational background and what did you take away from your degree that has been the most vital throughout your career?

Oxford Rd, home to Manchester Metropolitan Uni and the SpaceInvader studio

My education after school began by studying Retail and Exhibition Design at Sheffield College, which is where I started to really get into interior design and into the bar / night club culture scene. This led me to leave Sheffield and move to Manchester to study three-dimensional design, doing an Interior Design degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Studying in Manchester gave me a really good insight into interior design, as most of the lecturing staff were practising designers. This then led to being able to work on small live projects outside of Uni work. Getting to be on site with shopfitters and see your designs come to life was great.

How did your career progress?

After leaving University, I stayed on in Manchester and was very lucky to gain employment straight away, working for Campbell and Armstrong Design in Levenshulme. I worked on some exciting concept designs for blue chip companies such as Daewoo Cars, Tesco Finance, Marks and Spencer, HSBC Retail banking and Ford Group Headquarters.

After a few years, some of the design team and myself broke away and set up NRN design (standing for Noel Roy Nathan, the names of the founding partners). It was great to be able to create a new portfolio of design clients including: the phone people plc, The People’s Pension Stores, Gresham Mill, pop-ups for Nescafé and LPC Offices / Residential.

I then moved on again and worked for Wella International as the Head Interior Designer for the northern region. Next came Styles and Wood, where I spent many years, heading up a large team in Manchester and delivering large-scale roll outs including RBS, NatWest Group, the Twickenham Stadium expansion, Marks & Spencer and football clubs Manchester City FC and Leicester City FC. I moved to SpaceInvader in 2019 to help retain and grow the existing client base.

What have been your career highlights?

Accrington Stanley Hospitality Suites. Image by Dawnvale

Mentoring some great young talent, who still surprise me with their flair, imagination and enthusiasm in delivering high class quality interiors. Also, I take great pride in the many stadium projects I’ve been involved in that still look current and progressive ten years on. I also really value the large network of professional contractors, suppliers, consultants and clients I’ve been fortunate to work over the many years with, and have shared a great time on and off site with – and for whom I’ve delivered some beautiful interiors (you know who you are!).

Could you tell me about any key projects you’ve worked on and why were they so important to you and your career path?

M Gate, Manchester City FC. Image by Dawnvale

I think that both the Twickenham Stadium Expansion and the various projects I’ve undertaken for Manchester City FC would count as the most important for me. In all cases, I was able to work with great collaborative client teams, who trusted in our imagination and design process. I think that’s a very humbling thing and it made it a joy to work on and deliver these great schemes.

What do you feel are your core skills?

Sketch of Birmingham City Hospitality Suite

Having a creative eye and attention to detail. I always bring a high level of enthusiasm I’m told. And good communication – it’s so important to keep the conversation open and make sure everyone’s informed. To be honest I love it all; every one of the various tasks that come with being a designer and creating solutions to problems.

Why did you decide to join SpaceInvader?

SpaceInvader go social!

Pretty much immediately after my first meeting with SpaceInvader Founder John Williams, listening to him about the consultancy’s design process and having a laugh about the shocking coffee at Styles and Wood. It was also key to meet the design team, who made me feel welcome straight away. And things were sociable immediately too – with a life drawing class and then a quiz night – which really embedded me.

What would you like to achieve in your role at SpaceInvader?

Managers Corner at Manchester City FC. Image by Dawnvale

To keep producing beautiful innovative interiors for current and new clients! Also to develop relationships with other design disciplines further, so that we can create a truly collaborative and ‘right first time’ design process.

What are your plans for the future?

CGI of the current project for Safran Offices

To help John and the SpaceInvader team create exceptional interior schemes and keep having a laugh. I enjoy every moment. Honestly, I’m so lucky to be doing what I do. I never forget that.


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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