This book unveils the fascinating stories behind some of the most influential women in design
Women, for better or for worse, have long been inextricably linked to the concept of the home. In the book Woman Made: Great Creative Women, Dr Jane Hall shows how vital women are, spotlighting 200 female architects and interior designers whose work has shaped the homes of many.
Jane is herself a leading figure as a professor of architecture at Princeton University and a founding member of the Turner Award-winning multidisciplinary furniture collective Assemble. His book 2019 Breaking Ground: architecture by women concentrated on 180 buildings by women architects. Woman Made: Great Creative Women explores an even more diverse range of women creators, featuring designers and architects from over 50 countries, from the turn of the 20th century to the present day.
When it came to putting together a list of 200 names, the task at hand was not easy. Jane’s list started with 800 designers and required contributions from friends and family to refine her. The resulting list covers well-known industry icons such as Ray Eames, Eileen Gray, Anna Castelli Ferrieri and Florence Knoll, as well as some of today’s stars, from Ilse Crawford and Faye Toogood to Sophie. Lou Jacobsen, Soft-Geometry, and Egg Collective.
Interwoven with the icons are 10 lesser-known names that Jane says were long overdue in the spotlight. Milanese designer Liisi Beckmann, for her part, was behind many important designs from major Italian design brands, such as Zanotta, throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Presented in alphabetical order, each page contains a large image with a paragraph of text about each of the designers. As Jane explains, “alphabetical order is a way to juxtapose the work of women from different time periods so that they are empowered, regardless of well-known or preconceived chronological design stories.”
As for some of her personal favorites, it highlights Althea McNish, a Trinidad-born textile designer who died last year. She was considered one of the first African-Caribbean designers to achieve international recognition and was even named one of the A D“Five Creative Women Who Changed History” in 2018. Althea, alongside Nanda Vigo and Cini Boeri (both also passed during the making of the book), are some of the true pioneers in the industry.
“To me, they really are the first generation who established design as an independent career choice for women,” Jane told Clever. “Their work is characterized by humor, craftsmanship and is super smart.”
Beyond the fascinating preview and intriguing imagery, the book itself is something you’ll want to display on your coffee table. With bold black letters on a mint blue leather bound frame, the book is a centerpiece inside and out.