Crossing cultures, oceans and design disciplines, this list is just a small example of some of the outstanding women in design that are making their mark.
For architect Adele McNab, when it comes to her selection criteria for taking on a project, Adele’s sole specification is that “the clients have their heart in the project.” Her belief is that, with an emotionally invested client and a collaborative project team on board, architecture can achieve anything – from increasing the efficiency of everyday lives to improving the health and wellbeing of residents and users; from making living in our cities more affordable to making our built environment more sustainable.
Cushla McFadden / TomMarkHenry
While Cushla McFadden prides TomMarkHenry’s ability to flex to the client’s needs and wishes – rather than rolling out the same design time after time – in her own work she continues to return to early influences like Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson and Le Corbusier for inspiration.
“I’ve always been influenced by modernism and quite minimal design,” she says. “It was a nice reflection piece doing my own home to see that that is still very much the case.”
Anna Fahey and Bailey Meredith / Baina
For two years, Anna and Bailey worked together before the conversation of collaboration became too loud to ignore any longer and the foundation for luxury towel brand Baina was born.
From the early days of friendship they had often spoken about someday creating a brand, though they’d always imagined it would be strongly tied to fashion. But as is often the case with life and experience their plans evolved.
Sook Kim / Teeland Architects
“I believe that design has to work on a practical level as well as achieving an aesthetic beauty,” Sook says. “For example in a home, the kitchen, bathroom and laundry are important. If these spaces are well designed, then it can be such a pleasure to spend time in these spaces. The daily ritual of bathing and preparing food can become a wonderful experience.”
Mims Radford / Good Things Store
Founder of ethical, slow design online shop Good Things Store Mims Radford shares: “It would bring me so much joy to see our fast world tilt towards kinder, slower, better ways of consuming. We are starting to see glimpses of it, but it still feels like a bandwagon to jump on, rather than the norm.
I know we can’t change the whole world, but I totally believe as consumers the power is in our hands, and if I can change the way a consumer buys just one thing through Good Things, that’s a vote for change.”
Agatha Carolina and Chrisye Octaviani / Bitte Design Studio
Bitte was set up by peers Agatha Carolina and Chrisye Octaviani in 2012, having studied together. Today as creative partners they lead a team of five including three interior designers, a senior architect and a product designer to undertake a range of interior and architecture projects.
“Our personal experience is that we started Bitte from the bottom. It is like walking on the staircase. We need to start from the very bottom to reach the top. That way we can appreciate more, and the most important thing is we can get more control of things because we’ve overcome all those steps before,” says Chrisye Octaviani.
Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto / Studiopepe
Milan-based interior designers Studiopepe have built a global following with an approach that features bold colours and striking geometries. “We like working with classic shapes and creating variations on archetypes using materials and colours to reinterpret a project or piece rather than [inventing] unusual forms,” says Chiara. “The result of this is a very simple, yet very refined design that could be from the Art Deco era or the 80s, but still looks contemporary.”
Hedy Ritterman / Artist
Hedy Ritterman is an installation and photographic artist based in Melbourne. We toured her home where each object and artefact is curated, ready to be captured on film. A founding member of the cultural collective, Contemporary Collective, with a number of individual and group exhibitions, Hedy’s home is a visual and tactile environment. “My approach is to photograph what I see, not trick things up to create the right image,” she says.
Katie Lockhart / Interior designer
New Zealand designer Katie Lockhart’s first foray into design was in a covetable role as design assistant to Karen Walker. She then Katie traded it in to pursue new experiences abroad, and it was her time in Milan that she considers as her true design education. “The editor of Casa Da Abitare at the time showed me around her newly renovated house. She had a yoga room with tatami mats. I had never seen anything like this,” she remembers. “I loved how Italians could dream up realities.”
We think you might like to read this book review of Ground-Breaking architecture by female architects.