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Vale Madeline Lester

Celebrated Australian designer and DIA Hall of Fame inductee, Madeline Lester, passes away at 68. On behalf of the Australian design community, we wish to pay our respects to Madeline – a person who gave so much to this industry and contributed greatly to its success.

Vale Madeline Lester

Celebrated Australian designer and DIA Hall of Fame inductee, Madeline Lester, has sadly passed away at the age of 68.

Madeline has made an exceptional contribution to the design profession in Australia, to academia and to design at an international level, and in 2006, she was officially inducted into the Design Institute of Australia’s Hall of Fame; Madeline Lester AM, LFDIA (Interior).

Madeline Lester worked from New South Wales as an Interior Designer, Design Manager and Principal of her eponymous studio: Madeline Lester Design Management.

As a founding partner of Interni, a well recognised and respected Interior Design Practice and then managing Director of Madeline Lester Design Management, Madeline has worked at the top level of her profession for many years. During this time she has also undertaken the role of New South Wales State President of the DIA (several times) and was National President during a significant period of change for the DIA. In fact, Madeline has been a member of the Institute for more than 20 years and has been made a Life Fellow in recognition of her personal contributions.

She was the Director and Chair of the highly acclaimed Sydney Design 99, an international conference sometimes referred to as the “Design Olympics”. On the academic side she has lectured at KvB College, UTS School of Design and was the Adjunct Professor of Design at the University of NSW.

She has worked tirelessly on numerous committees, councils and boards to professionally represent the profession of design and up until her passing, was the President of IFI, the International body that represents Interior Designers globally. This is a significant role and the first time it has been held by an Australian. An enormous achievement.

Thoughts and well-wishes from around Australia have poured in for Madeline’s obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald.

“While I was a practicing designer with a heavy work load, you always reminded me to give back to the industry. Well thanks to you, I fell in love with teaching; I would never have given teaching a thought, had it not been for your insistent and delightful character. Your light shines brightly in my heart and I will always cherish fond memories of our times together.”

“Madeline , you were an inspiration to me as a young designer on my first design board . You held the best attributes a person can hold. Hardworking, talented, ethical, and caring. Always calm, warm, and passionate .You will be missed.”

“Madeline would fly over the moon to help the people she cared about. Her heart knew no bounds. Her passion and love for interior design also knew no bounds taking her to the highest realms of the industry to ensure its recognition as a critical discipline across the globe. Madeline was an inspiring mentor, and colleague for me for many years as well as a firm friend. We loved her love of life and her childlike wonder and excitement of what life offers. She often asked after the wallabies we have in our garden who she was always delighted in seeing when she visited us here in Tasmania. We loved her very much and will miss her deeply…our love and deepest sympathies to Alf and all of her family who she adored.”

Treasured daughter of Steve (dec) and Tasia Varvaressos, loving wife of Alf Lester, much loved Mum of Nick and Steve Coumbis. Adored mother-in-law to Natasha and Rebecca and Step-mum to Cinden and Scott. Devoted Yia Yia to Olivia, Matteo and Zella, Rose and Charlotte, Aden and Sophie. Aunty, Nouna, cousin, niece and friend who touched so many of us deeply.

Her light will always shine. RIP Madeline. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time.

A service to celebrate Madeline’s life will be held at 11am Thursday 1 June at St George Greek Orthodox Church, Newcastle St, Rose Bay.


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