The Most Influential Women in Design/Architecture of the 21st-Century ⇒ In celebration of the International Women’s Day, CovetED has come up with the idea of creating a selection featuring some of the best women in the design and architecture industries. They have completely revolutionised and given a new meaning to these art forms, while sometimes not being fully recognised for their impressive work and ideas. Nevertheless, these following women and many others have shattered glass ceilings and constantly thrive for progress within an otherwise male-dominated industry. So, here are 25 of the most influential women in design and architecture of the 21st-century.
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Image Credit to Brigitte Lacombe
The revolutionary Iranian-British architect, Zaha Hadid will always be known for her distinctively neo-futuristic, powerfully curvy and elongated creations. Sadly, the esteemed architect died in 2016 but her legacy will leave on through the genius minds of Zaha Hadid Architects. In each architectural project, the architect was able to create a new expressive identity. In 2004, she became the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. Some of her best projects include the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku and the MAXXI Museum in Rome.
Image Credit to Helene Binet. Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku by Zaha Hadid Architects
Image Credit to Kelly Hoppen Interiors
With 40 years’ experience at the forefront of the design industry, Kelly Hoppen is one of the most celebrated and sought-after interior designers in the world. The creative genius is not afraid to think outside the box, she doesn’t believe in trends and adores working on projects that excite her. For many design lovers and industry professionals, the British designer is the queen of interior design, and pioneer of high-end design as well as providing modern decorating tips for home interiors. Her most iconic projects include a villa in Barbados, a chalet in Switzerland, the One Shenzhen Bay in Hong Kong and the Hotel Murmuri in Barcelona, just to name a few.
Image Credit to Kelly Hoppen Interiors. One Shenzhen Bay in Hong Kong
Image Credit to Kelly Wearstler
Renowned for her vivacious and colourful compositions, Kelly Wearstler knows how to perfectly blend daring textures with bold colours while telling a fulfilling story. Her unique aesthetic and approach to design attract an enviable client base, mostly composed of celebrities from the world of film and music, as well as opinion leaders from all over the world. She often does residential and commercial projects, besides creating her own furniture and accessories, some of her most impressive works are a 1930s Bel Air Residence, an artistically styled Evergreen home and Four Seasons Anguilla.
Image Credit to Roger Davies
Image Source: Surface Magazine
The American-Israeli designer, Neri Oxman is known for combining art and architecture with design, biology, computing, and materials engineering, resulting in one-of-a-kind creations. Her work embodies environmental design and digital morphogenesis, with shapes and properties that are determined by their context. She coined the phrase “material ecology” to define her work, placing materials in context. Aside from being an architect and designer, Oxman is also a professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she leads the Mediated Matter research group.
Image Credit to Neri Oxman. Gemini.
Image Credit to Peter Guenzel
Amanda Levete founded her award-winning architecture studio, AL_A back in 2009. The architect has refined an intuitive and strategic approach to design and architecture and believes that the latter is “the enclosure of space, the distinction between what is inside and outside.” Some of the studio’s most iconic designs are the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) project for the EDP Foundation, the Central Embassy project in Bangkok and the pop-up restaurant Tincan.
Image Credit to Francisco Nogueira. MAAT Project in Lisbon by AL_A
Image Credit to Sam Fros
Paris-based designer and architect, India Mahdavi is able to create statement-making interiors and designs using vibrant and vivacious colours. Her furniture captures her personality – modern, elegant and out of the ordinary, not to mention that humour also plays a big part in her work. Humour plays an important part in her design. She uses simple yet noble materials such as wood, lacquer and ceramic. In her mind, her furniture pieces are designed as accessories, they blend and become an important and integral piece of someone’s space. Café Français in Paris and The Gallery at Sketch in London are some of her most legendary projects.
Image Credit to Sketch
Image Credit to John Bessler Photography
Based in New York City, Victoria Hagan Interiors works on luxury residences throughout the country, providing a full range of interior design and renovation services. Hagan’s designs exude sophistication in the use of neutral palette, something you can observe in this 19th-century home in Connecticut. Her designs are described by herself as Timeless American, just take a look how the designer masterfully transformed this 19th-century house in Greenwich by using a neutral palette.
Image Credit to Victoria Hagan Interiors
Image Credit to U+A, Julian Ungano, Tommy Agriodimas
Alongside Ricardo Scofidio, Elizabeth Diller founded in 2001, the interdisciplinary design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro whose projects range from architecture to being related to the performing and visual arts. The studio takes on a rebellious approach to design and has been responsible for many outstanding projects, including the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Lincoln Center. In 2009, Diller was selected by Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Image Source: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Image Source: Bustler
Annabelle Selldorf created her own architecture practice in 1988. Since then, she has been regarded as one of the most requested architects, showcasing a very diverse portfolio ranging from designing homes to exhibition spaces all around the world. Her designs are best defined for mixing rigour with romance in ambitious ventures. Her projects include the Neue Galerie in New York, the renovation of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW).
Image Credit to Selldorf Architects
Image Credit to Jean-Marc Giboux-Getty Images for Home Front
Jeanne Gang created her design studio following the ideology that design connects people on a social, experiential, and intellectual basis. One of the studio’s most brilliant projects was the striking wood-walled Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Image Credit to Steve Hall for Hedrich Blessing
Image Credit to Mara Schiavetti for Cloutier-Remix
Maya Lin has maintained a careful balance between art and architecture. throughout her career, creating a remarkable body of work that includes large-scale site-specific installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural works, landscapes and memorials, as a matter of fact, one of her most renowned projects is Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Image Source: Sartle
Image Credit to Winnie Au
The Architect is renowned for her dexterity on balancing modern with warmth aspects. Berke’s designs represent a sense of clarity, simplicity, and sensitivity to context. Her architecture firm strives to enrich the world around it through enduring design and is mindful of the distinctive qualities of each place. Below, you can find a Bridgehampton, NY Home that was devised by Berke and her partners, giving it a look of casual minimalism.
Image Source: Deborah Berke Partners
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Image Source: Marco Craig
The work of renowned interior designer and architect Patricia Urquiola is widely known to be playful and poetic, yet pragmatic and functional, a creative combination that is the magic behind her work. She comes and goes through conventional time – rethinking, reinventing, and creating new concepts and designs. The effect is a powerful reminder of the past and exploration into the now, always creating a new experience for the user. The creator often works for Italian brands, such Cassina and also been involved in the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona.
Image Source: Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
Image Credit to Tobias Regell
Ilse Crawford is responsible for the luxury interiors studio and she believes that design is “about designing spaces that prioritize the immeasurable values, that make the normal special and make us feel alive.” Ultimately, the creative director finds fundamental to create comfortable places in any kind of environment.
Ilse Crawford’s Victorian Warehouse in London. Image Source: Yellowtrace
Jongeriuslab designs’ possess the power of the final stage, while also communicating that they are part of something greater, with both a past and an uncertain future. The unfinished, the provisional, the possible – they hide in the attention for imperfections, traces of the creation process, and the revealed potential of materials and techniques. Through this working method, Jongerius not only celebrates the value of the process but also engages the viewer, the user, in her investigation.
Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius at the Design Museum. Image Source: Dezeen
Image Credit to Carolyn Cruz
Directed by the idea that blending high and low provenances are the next ceremonial phase in design, the Dallas-based artists, find that beauty, luxury and comfort should be always present in any setting. Showers believes that “Interior design is an art form that, if done properly, helps people live comfortably surrounded by beauty.”
Jan Showers collaborated with architect Marwan Al-Sayed on this 9,000-square-foot home located in a Phoenix. Image Credit to Scott Frances
Image Source: Designboom
Carme Pigem Barceló is a Spanish architect, a member of the Pritzker Prize-winning architectural firm RCR Arquitectes, together with Ramón Vilalta and Rafael Aranda. The work’s firm is known for a grounded style that is rooted in and inspired by its local conditions. The following are some of their best work to date: the Bell–Lloc Winery in Palamós, Spain (2007); the Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens in Barcelona (2007), and the Soulages Museum in Rodez, France (in collaboration with G. Trégouët, 2014).
Soulages Museum. Image Credit to Hisao Suzuki.
Image Credit to One Kings Lane
Their design technique can construe as an amalgamation of aspects by both traditional and contemporary design, often recurring to the use of velvets and linens. They frequently seek influences in the work of Peter Marino and Thierry Despont. According to Kasler, what can be expected from the interiors company is “Decorating that isn’t so perfect.”
Georgia home designed by Suzanne Kasler. Image Credit to Simon Upton
Image Credit to Ralph Gibson
Renowned for creating modern spaces while exploring the grace of poetry, the designer showcases a wide spectrum of products, ranging from cultural to residential designs. Basically, Mori is a skilled master of nuanced spatial designs.
Home in New York’s Hudson Valley by Mori. Image Credit to William Waldron
Image Credit to Pablo Gómez Ogando
Isabel Lópes-Quezada’s studio was established in 1983, and for thirty years, her practice has become a force to be reckoned with. From city homes to large country estates, the Spanish designer finds her roots when designing “Magical homes that are sensitive to the architecture and faithful to their place.”
Living Room Design. Image Credit to Simon Watson
Image Credit to François Halard
Considered to be Britain’s designer of the moment, Uniacke creates unprecedented interiors each time. Her style is described as being simple yet refined. To the designer, a room should be comfortable, meditative, and relaxing. The designer who has done work for the Beckhams and Jo Malone, advises to “Always start with the architecture and work to make the best of it, but know that details, whether complex or simple, really make the design.”