Five of the most influential female designers
Celebrate International Women's Day with some of the most influential female designers of the 20th century
Lucienne Day, 1917-2010
You'll quite possibly be familar with Lucienne Day's 'Calyx' fabric. Perhaps you remember seeing it made up into cushions or curtains in stylish, contemporary homes as you were growing up? Lucienne Day was not one to hang off the coat-tails of her husband, renowned furniture designer Robin Day. After she caught the eye of tastemakers at the 1951 Festival of Britain, her fabrics became the go-to for interior designers of the 1950s and '60s. She went on to become the first female Master of the elite Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and her textiles can still be bought today.
Marjatta Metsovaara, 1927-2014
Think of Scandinavian design and it's most likely pared back interiors and simple wooden furniture come to mind. It's less likely you'll think of vibrant fabrics akin to those of David Hicks and Lucienne Day. That is, until you've seen the designs of Marjatta Metsovaara - the Finnish textile master whose bright patterns illuminated households darkened by post-war austerity.
Image: Metsovaara's home archive
Florence Knoll, born 1917
Born to a baker and orphaned at the age of 12, Florence Knoll developed a passion for architecture and design at a young age - and she later went on to study at Cranbrook Academy of Art. After meeting her husband, furniture designer Hans Knoll, in 1941, the two became a powerhouse of creativity and developed Knoll into an international design brand. To this day, her contributions to Knoll, and to the modernist design movement, are immeasurable.
Eileen Gray, 1878-1976
The sleek lines and ingenious proportions of Eileen Gray's height-adjustable side table (E 1027) is synonymous with classic 20th-century design. Originally starting her career as a specialist in lacquer work and cabinetmaking, Gray swiftly became beloved by the first followers of art deco and in 1922 she opened up her own gallery, Jean Désert, in Paris. She is regarded as a pivotal figure in the modernist movment, and her timeless chrome designs still look current in a contemporary home.
Image: Aram Store
Ray Eames, 1912-1988
Ray's creative designs, along with those of her husband Charles, were a tour de force in 20th-century design. Ray was already blazing a trail in abstract art before she met Charles and they began their collaboration on designs that led to pioneering work on fibreglass furniture and using plastic resin.
Image: © Eames Office, LLC (eames office.com)
The 8th of March each year marks International Women's Day. A day designed to mark the social, economic, political and cultural archievements of women throughout the decades.
So what better day to celebrate the work of some of the world's most influential female designers?