Dominic De Freitas
Vice President, Residential Development
BFAID Magna Cum Laude, ARIDO, IDC, NCIDQ
I’ve got family connections in Florida, so when it came time to pick a university I decided it couldn’t hurt to abandon the Canadian winter for a few years.
Not a lot of people know but I actually started out my career working in corporate interiors. I was accepted into a global design firm’s competitive graduate training program and from there a full-time role in corporate workplace design across the southeastern States.
After three years in the U.S., I decided I wanted to take what I’d learned and return to Toronto. The timing couldn’t be worse; I came back right in the middle of a recession and the biggest corporate workplace design firms were laying staff off left and right.
I quickly realised two things; I wasn’t going to get a job designing offices and I wasn’t interested in suburban low rise housing. I’m nothing if not tenacious so I combed the ARIDO Awards list to see who was winning the most awards in the then-nascent multi-family condo developments. One particular firm’s name came up again and again.
Despite having no experience (something that became painfully evident in my interview) I knew I was a quick study and just had to frame my experience the right way. Whatever I said resonated with the founder of the company and he decided to take a chance on me. My first year working there was a steep learning curve. Where once I’d thought that residential development design was inferior to corporate workplace design, I quickly grew to love how it combines a mix of everything I enjoy the most: marketing, sales, exposure to architects and engineers, brand and creative direction, and of course, interior design. It was fascinatingly complex and I loved it.
I moved to another high profile Toronto design studio where I got to flex my creative muscle, became a trusted advisor to clients across North America and helped the business to win a slew of awards.
What I love most about my role at figure3 is the opportunity to run a business within a business. In just three years I’ve been able to double the size of my team, design the fastest selling condo development in the GTA and position us to be the ones to watch.
Trust me when I say I’m just getting started.