Leadership / Doug Caldwell, Director, Business Development


Interior design is living art; it has a reason
and a soul
. At Figure3, purpose-built function
and emotional connection is essential,
and it’s great to be a part of that.”

Growing up in Port Colborne, Doug Caldwell, Figure3’s Director of Business Development, was always
encouraged to pursue his passions. When he announced his intention to become an artist, his parents we’re
surprised. “I like to draw so I wanted to go to school for art. And my parents were like, it’s cool. Go have fun.”
Amidst that environment of freedom, it was easy to spark the creativity that would lead to an exciting
career in design.

After obtaining a degree in art history, Caldwell followed his interests and moved to Toronto on a whim.
He began working as an Art Director for movie sets, commercials, TV shows, documentaries, and music
videos for artists such as Teagan and Sarah, Gord Downey, July Black and Nelly Furtado. “I think the
overarching theme in my work is atmosphere and environments. That’s my thing. I loved doing set design,
but I hated the hours.” He also wasn’t fond of the disposable nature of set design. “It’s hard to rip down
something that you pour a lot of yourself into. It just really wasn’t for me.”

Caldwell was planning to make a move into architecture when a call came in from Universal Studios and
Nickleodeon that would redirect his attention towards the whimsical world of theme parks. He found a
natural fit in designing spas, water parks, theme parks and hotels that allowed his imagination to run wild.
“I love art theory and creative thinking. Theme parks are just a completely different animal. It’s not like music
videos, where you’re trying to accentuate the music: in theme parks you’re trying to grab attention.”
Caldwell recalls his experience realizing an entire world for the Panama Canal in the form of a giant glass
globe. “I wouldn’t want to do this all the time, it’s kind of like having sugar for supper, but it was interesting
to create an environment where there’s no limit. It’s just pure, absolute creativity.”

It was the curiosity about the front end of the business that eventually lead Caldwell to Figure3, where his
ability to problem solve and think creatively is harnessed at the onset of the potential relationship. “It helps in
a business development role to have a design background, both from a designer’s perspective and a client’s
perspective. I appreciate having those dialogues with people because you have a better idea of what
projects you want and what projects you can spearhead.”

In a typical day, you can find Caldwell reaching out to firms to assess the needs of new projects, visiting
sites, reviewing RFP’s and writing proposals. “I’ll do everything on the front end to extract the necessary
information and then work internally with the team to brainstorm how our firm can best meet or exceed
the needs of the project.”

Caldwell observes that there are two halves to the design process – securing projects and letting the
design unfold – his role being the bridge between. “Interior design is like living art; its purpose-built followed
by emotion and it’s really nice to be at a company where that’s emphasized. At Figure3 we recognize the
impact a physical environment has on the individual, and in this role, I can tap into my past experience
to help move the business forward.”

With the interior design industry known for being highly relationship based, building a rapport with key
stakeholders is critical, and a respected firm like Figure3’s can help provide the influence that opens the
conversation. “There’s something to be said about how well Figure3 is known in the industry, it makes my job
a lot easier because I don’t have to explain who we are. They know we are the talent on the block”. Caldwell
explained what impresses him the most is the elegance and clarity of the spaces created by Figure3 and it is
his desire to uphold that standard while also pushing for innovative ways to create new environments