Made By Women: Meet the women designers who changed modern furniture.
March marks the start of Women's History Month! This month is dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the crucial role and achievements of women in history. Thanks to the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 in March 1987, designating the month as “Women’s History Month.” Since 1995, presidents have made annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”
To celebrate, we're highlighting the talents and influence of several women designers who changed modern furniture design forever.
Ray Eames was responsible for groundbreaking contributions in architecture, graphic design, textile design, film, and furniture. She and her husband Charles worked alongside each other, influencing many iconic designs with Eames Office. Ray's sense for form and color was the driving force behind the Eames "look". She documented and protected the enormous collection of photographs that the office accumulated over the years.
Charlotte Perriand had a passion for creating functional spaces, as she believed better design helps create a better society. At 24, she was interviewed by well-known architect Le Corbusier. He famously rejected her, stating "We don't embroider cushions here." Later that year, he visited her installation, the Bar sous le Toit filled with tubular steel furniture, at the Salon d'Automne. Her creation wowed him. Realizing his past mistakes, Le Corbusier invited Perriand to join his studio where she designed furniture and interiors for a decade.
Florence Knoll defined the standard for the modern corporate interiors of post-war America when creating the revolutionary Knoll Planning Unit. Drawing on her background in architecture, she introduced modern notions of efficiency, space planning, and comprehensive design to office planning. Florence ardently maintained that she did not merely decorate spaces, she created them. Her contributions to Knoll and the rise of modernism in America are immeasurable.
Eileen Gray was an outstanding figure in the modern movement. She designed and exhibited furniture ahead of its time, using materials like chrome, bent steel tube, and glass in ways that had never been seen before. During her lifetime, Gray’s contributions to the field were marginalized, and her legacy was minimized within the male-dominated world of architecture and design. Today, Eileen Gray is getting the attention she deserves: with exhibitions in Paris and New York, her furniture now sells for millions at auction. Gray's work is now a source of inspiration for artists, designers, and architects around the world.
You might know her for creating the iconic ‘Hanging Egg’ chair of 1959. Over her long 60-year career, Nanna Ditzel achieved celebrity-like status as her designs lead 20th-century Danish design. Functionality was the driving force behind many of her iconic designs. During her distinguished career, her furniture and other creations could be found in all major European and North American cities. She won many awards in her lifetime, including Lunning Prize and the C. F. Hansen Medal. She remains one of Denmark's most acclaimed designers to this day.