International Women’s Day
If you’ve done anything on Google within the past several hours, you’ll have noticed today’s doodle for this holiday that ranges from a general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.
We’re big fans of equality in all its forms so International Women’s Day is right up our alley, especially when you think about all the great female designer’s that have contributed to the furniture, interior design and architectural industries. Here’s just a few…
“Ray Kaiser Eames was born in Sacramento, California in the middle of the century’s second decade. She studied painting with Hans Hofmann in New York before moving on to Cranbrook Academy where she met and assisted Charles and Eero Saarinen in preparing designs for the Museum of Modern Art’s “Organic Furniture Competition.” Charles and Eero’s designs, created by molding plywood into complex curves, won them the two first prizes.
The Eameses continued to create new furniture designs into the 1970s.
Examples include the molded plastic or fiberglass chairs from the early 1950s and the famous Lounge Chair and Ottoman from 1956. Sturdy, comfortable and elegant office furniture was created in the 1960s, as well as seating designed for Dulles and O’Hare Airports. This Tandem Sling Seating is still in use in airports around the world today.
Charles died August 21, 1978. Ray died ten years later to the day. The Eames Office still operates today, run by Charles’ daughter, designer Lucia Eames, and her five children, releasing their designs in furniture, film, video and other media as well as creating new products.” (via Eames Office)
“While a student at the Kingswood School on the campus of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Florence Knoll Bassett (née Schust) became a protegée of Eero Saarinen. She studied architecture at Cranbrook, the Architectural Association in London and the Armour Institute (Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago). She worked briefly for Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Wallace K. Harrison. In 1946, she became a full business and design partner and married Hans Knoll, after which they formed Knoll Associates. She was at once a champion of world-class architects and designers and an exceptional architect in her own right. As a pioneer of the Knoll Planning Unit, she revolutionized interior space planning. Her belief in “total design” – embracing architecture, manufacturing, interior design, textiles, graphics, advertising and presentation – and her application of design principles in solving space problems were radical departures from the standard practice in the 1950s, but were quickly adopted and remain widely used today. For her extraordinary contributions to architecture and design, Florence Knoll was accorded the National Endowment for the Arts’ prestigious 2002 National Medal of Arts.” (via Knoll)
“Ms. Cosonas developed an interest in design at a young age. Her grandfather was a painter and fabric merchant; her mother a calligrapher and architectural render. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where she earned degrees in both fine arts and textile design, she interned at Unika Vaev under Sina Pearson, then the division’s creative director. Dorothy was appointed Unika Vaev’s design director of in 1994; in 1999 she became a vice president of the firm. Ms. Cosonas is now the Creative Director of both KnollTextiles and Knoll Luxe. Her work is highly influenced by her passion for fine art and international fashion. Dorothy is known for combining clean, clear color with modern, elegant patterns and textures.” (via Knoll)
“Frequently cited as a benchmark of modern cross-national design, Maya Lin’s work draws influence from Japanese gardens, American Indian earthen mounds, her parents and her architectural design training at Yale University. While studying there as a senior, Lin won a nationwide contest for her controversial design of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. Her career has been marked by her memorials, public spaces and keen sense of simple, elegant beauty. These elements are gracefully displayed in her work for Knoll, which includes outdoor seating stones, a chaise lounge and side chair. In 2003, Maya Lin won the Finn Juhl award for good design.” (via Knoll)
“Neglected for most of her career, Eileen Gray (1878-1976) is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century and the most influential woman in those fields. Her work inspired both modernism and Art Deco.
In the August 1917 issue of British Vogue magazine a writer described the work of Miss Gray, a lacquer artist who had fled her home in Paris to seek refuge in London during World War I. “Influenced by the modernists is Miss Gray’s art, so they say,” it began. “But is it not rather that she stands alone, unique, the champion of a singularly free method of expression.”
Eileen Gray was to “stand alone” throughout her career first as a lacquer artist, then a furniture designer and finally as an architect. At a time when other leading designers were almost all male and mostly members of one movement or another – whether a loose grouping like De Stijl in the Netherlands, or a formal one such as the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne – she remained stalwartly independent.
Her design style was as distinctive as her way of working, and Gray developed an opulent, luxuriant take on the geometric forms and industrially produced materials used by the International Style designers, such as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Mies Van Der Rohe, who shared many of her ideals. Her voluptuous leather and tubular steel Bibendum Chair and clinically chic E-1027 glass and tubular steel table are now as familiar as icons of the International Style as Le Corbusier and Perriand’s classic Grand Confort club chairs, yet for most of her career she was relegated to obscurity by the same proud singularity that makes her work so prized today.” (via Design Museum)
“Lilly Reich was born on the 16th of June 1885 in Berlin.
Her career as a modernist designer began in textile and fashion design. This particular choice of career focus may in all likely hood have been a product of prejudicial and altogether sexist cultural norms and expectations of the time. Vocations considered to be suitable for, and within the intellectual grasp of a women were few and far between – and this was one area where women were accepted.
However her fascination with contrasting textures and innovative use of fabrics no doubt began here, and was to be highly pertinent in her later career as a furniture designer, and to her work as a teacher of interior design at the Bauhaus School some years later.
Reich is credited with having co-designed some of Mies’ most famous works – his Barcelona Chair, also known as the pavilion chair and the Brno chair.” (via Modern Furniture Classics)