Incredible Female Designers

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Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Following Women’s day on 8th March and as a young female entrepreneur myself, I couldn’t help but feel compelled to write a post to celebrate three incredible female designers who have smashed societal boundaries, making breathtaking creations that resonate in the world today.

Patricia Urquiola 

Brought up in Spain she moved to Milan and immersed herself fully in the scene, studying and lecturing in the design capital. A key fixture at Salone del Mobile, people wait in anticipation for her unique designs that are sure to dictate fashions for years to come. With huge names under her belt, designing for Cassina, Moroso and lighting collections for Flos to name a few, she’s an unyielding force that’s constantly shaping Italian design. For this, she’s been decorated with a range of accolades: Designer of the Year for Wallpaper and Elle Decor International, Designer of the Decade awarded by German magazines Home and Hauser as well as the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from the Spanish government.

Her distinctive style is generally hailed as minimalist in nature with a feminine twist. Empathetic towards the materials she uses, she’s not restricted by the myopic view some designers take to become commercially viable. Her Instagram posts are a delight to see, always super visual and exciting, this is truly a woman who lives and breathes her work, seeing beauty in design at all times.

With such an extensive collection, you’d be hard pushed to choose one piece, but the Shanghai Tip Coffee Table is a masterclass in design, bringing together subtly juxtaposing elements to create a single harmonious statement. Paradoxical in nature this piece is sophisticated yet warm with an understated luxury and subtle opulence that’s pure genius.

Shanghai Tip Coffee Table – £312 on Clippings.com

Zaha Hadid

The late Zaha Hadid is an inspiration, born in Iraq in the 50s she studied maths in Beirut before embarking on her architectural journey in 1972. The first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, her fearless designs and extraordinary creations were a result of her absolute single-mindedness and determination to fight for her place in a male-dominated profession. Sometimes touted as a diva, her uncompromising vision was unparalleled, constantly defying expectations, always breaking conventional barriers. 

Her iconic creations include the Olympic aquatics centre in Stratford, the Guangzhou Opera House in China, the National Museum of the XXI Century Arts in Rome and the Vitra Fire Station in Germany. Her unfettered style can’t strictly be pinned down, but at a push could loosely be described as futuristic and sculptural, favouring asymmetrical facades and heavy industrial materials like steel, glass and concrete. Her far-reaching creativity knew no bounds, extending to product design with a range of furniture, lighting and bathroom hardware.

Sometimes criticised for her decisions, but always respected for her vision and drive; hailed the queen of the curve she’s left a lifelong legacy encouraging women to pick up her heavy mantle.

Aria Gold Suspension

Aria Gold suspension by Slamp found on Clippings.com

Eileen Gray

Born in 1878 near Enniscorthy Ireland, Eileen Gray was a pioneer. Often an outsider and with her achievements restricted in her lifetime, posthumously she’s an incredibly celebrated designer, lauded for inspiring both the Modern and Art Deco movements. 

She was encouraged to pursue her artistic interests from an early age and became the first woman admitted to study painting at the Slade. She trained in lacquer work and cabinet making then moved on to eventually work as an architect and designer.

Her first gallery was opened in 1922 in collaboration with the architecture critic Jean Badovici. The Galerie Jean Désertto sold rugs, furniture and lighting, exhibiting her love for chrome, steel tube and glass furniture, as well as geometric shapes. Breakthrough materials at the time, her distinctive design style can still be seen influencing the trends we have today.

One of her last pieces of work was with Zeev Aram, introducing her design to the world market. The E1027 adjustable table is an iconic and lasting piece, that is in the permanent collection of the V&A design museum. Timeless and elegant, you can pick up the original design from the ARAM store.

E1027 Adjustable Table

There’s still a shocking lack of female furniture and products designers, but with constantly emerging inspirational women flying the flag in the face of adversity, it gives me the hope that 50/50 by 2030 can be a reality.  


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