A recent BUILDblog post created a fictitious lecture series for the department of architecture here in town and while we were busy patting ourselves on the back for putting together what we thought was a rather robust list of speakers, a few readers brought up a very good criticism. Not one of the speakers on our list is female <insert embarrassment, shuffling of feet and lack of eye contact here>. It was proposed that we dedicate a BUILDblog post to the females who are making an impact on the design world and we have every intention of rising to the challenge for today’s post. Thanks to Alex and Sondra for keeping us on task. Here goes:
Jane Jacobs: In April of 2006 the design world lost one of its greatest writers, observers, theorists and activists. Her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities is, to this day, one of the most influential resources in the world on urban architecture and urban planning. Her other titles are every bit as good. At a time in society where the mainstream thinking was to tear everything down and start with a blank canvas – Jacobs questioned it all and wrote the book on urban design.
Eileen Gray: Like their designer, her pieces are elegant and enigmatic. The Eileen Gray daybed may very well be one the most pure furniture designs in modern history. She bucked the system of gratuitous curves and ornament for clean lines and functional design.
Anni Albers: We’ve always loved the balance of Albers’ textiles; the rational, clean grids woven with craftsmanship (or craftswomanship rather) into a tactile imperfect material. The perfect married with the real. There is so much materiality in her work that you can practically feel the weaves through the photos. We were lucky enough to catch her work at a Cooper Hewitt show years ago and we found her work to illustrate everything we admire about design.
Gwendolyn Wright: This woman is more passionate about architecture than all of us put together. For dinner she has medallions of architecture over a steaming bed of architecture with a side dish of architecture. She makes most of us look like ninnies when it comes to dedication of an occupation. She recently completed the USA version of Modern Architectures in History and continues to teach at Columbia University. She is a world class professor, excellent lecturer and stars in the PBS series History Detectives.
Maya Lin: From her installations to her portfolio of architectural work, Maya Lin’s vocabulary is full of craft and sensuality. In an increasingly digital and mechanized world, her work is refreshingly designed with the eye and built with the hand. There is a tangible sensation of wanting to touch, smell and hear these works.
Lise Anne Couture: As a principal of New York based Asymptote Architecture, Couture applies an illustrious design-forward manifesto to architecture, master planning, interiors, furniture, industrial design and exhibitions. Her designs are sleek and smart. If you want to see what the future looks like you should get very familiar with her portfolio.
Petra Blaisse: Her large scale surface coverings and hangings open up new ideas between nature and built-form. Her installations cause you to think differently. We particularly like her work as it relies heavily on proximity and where you are in relation to the pieces.
Hella Jongerius: At first glance her work is striking in terms of color and pattern. The further into her work we get the more we like the re-invention of form and assembly. Jongerius exemplifies that a good designer can design anything.
Deborah Adler: When it comes to design a small strategy can have wide ranging effects. Adler understood this with her clever Masters Thesis which applied a new set of logistics and information identity on prescription bottles. The concept was so successful that Target is now in partnership with her on the Clear Rx brand. She also has great hair – the kind of hair that should be flipping around in a shampoo commercial –rrroww.
Tina Roth Eisenberg: Otherwise known as Swiss Miss, she is at the helm of the design blog ship. Tens of thousands of design minded individuals look to her blog for emerging design. We check in with her daily – so should you.
Putting together a post on savvy women of the design world has got us all in a tizzy. Regardless – let us know who we missed…