Hello, International Women’s day just passed. While we, as a studio, do not focus on a single day to reflect on the importance of gender equality in our society, I wanted to take this opportunity anyway to celebrate great achievements by amazing women in the interior design and architecture industries.
There could be countless examples really, but due to the limited mean, I decided to talk here about the designers that inspired me the most and that created spaces or products that really speaks to me as a designer. In the hope that this read might inspire other great professionals as I was by these designers below, and serve as a reminder of the necessity for gender equality, let’s proceed…
Nomade Architettura – Selina Bertola
“Enthusiasm, passion and hard work must be at the base of everyday’s work. Aim directly at your own goal and put in the effort to reach it. This has to go hand-in-hand with a bit of patience, as there are no shortcuts. Constance is key as well as remembering that the path to success is almost never a straight line!”
Selina Bertola graduated in Architecture and later she specialised in Interior Design at Polytechnic of Milan and London’s Chelsea College of Arts. She worked for a London-based Interior and Architecture firm participating in several international projects.
The various collaborations both in Italy and around the world in the following years ultimately led to the founding of the Architecture and Interior Design Studio Nomade in 2010. The aim was to create a group of passionate designers with different backgrounds that could bring in varied experiences and skills.
Thanks to Selina and her team’s work, today Nomade is an important reality not just in Italy, but in many countries around the world collaborating with high-profile brands.
What I always liked about Nomade Architettura’s projects is the attention to detail, regardless of the scale, or budget of the development. There is always an innovative solution and the will to find something unique that makes the space unique. One of my favourite projects is the Waterbeat Society, a hydrospinning centre in Milan because it represents a great example of communication between branding and interior.
Studio Nanna Lagerman – Nanna Lagerman
"Designing spaces is all about how it will be for the people who spend time here. My work is very much about supporting well-being and the planet. It's extremely satisfying when experience, function, and aesthetics are co creating, this is when the magic happens."
Nanna Lagerman passion for interior design has roots in her childhood. She writes: “I early found a purpose to escape into spaces that I could transform into good feelings and still today it’s the way I approach spaces”. For this reason, like the best designers in the world have taught us, Nanna Lagerman’s interiors tell a story to the person experiencing it. And all of this is aimed at improving people’s well-being and offering them a way to escape.
With these principles, over 20 years ago she created her Stockholm-based studio. Nanna Lagerman Studio specialises in the creation of sets, commercial spaces, and high-end residential projects, aiming at reconnecting “people with style, insight and new experiences”.
The Nanna Lagerman Studio delivers clean bespoke designs with a strong personality that allowed it to win several awards both in Europe and the US.
I have followed her work since I found out about her studio when we wrote about the Dezeen Sustainability and Wellbeing award. I was particularly impressed by The Lamb project. An office space where the designers focused on mental health and wellbeing obtaining a really relaxing interior. What is more noteworthy is that it was done while also using 90% of repurposed and upcycled furniture. Something that has a high risk of creating clashes between the different pieces, and ultimately affect negatively the space appearance but it was instead very harmonious and easy on the eye.
Sella Concept – Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan
Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan established together Sella Concept. A firm developing interiors, and sets design for restaurants, bars, hotels, commercial and workspaces, along with branding and image that reflect the identity of both start-ups and established names.
Sella Concept wants to inspire through “Identities with meaning” and “Environments outside time”. All in all, a space that accompanies people and becomes an integral part of their everyday special experiences.
Tatjana von Stein is born in Germany as a self-taught designer who previously also worked with documentaries, theatre, and music, pays special attention to the psychology of space and how specific features can influence people’s emotions and behaviour.
Gayle Noonan instead is focused on branding and visual communication ranging on every kind of project for Sella Concept, from set to events, and products. Her aim is to create the perfect match between brand identity and storytelling.
I found out about Sella through Instagram where I noticed their distinctive style more than once until I realised it was always developed by the same studio. What I really like is their use of round shapes, and the capability to integrate them at every level of a project, from the architecture down to the product. This makes most interiors already really welcoming right from the start. Then, also the colour palettes used in every project convey the same welcoming feeling while also being unexpected.
The Act of Quad – Priyanka Itadkar and Falguni Bhatia
“The recent global pandemic's occurrence has shifted our lives rapidly. We've become more self-aware; we've missed being around nature and felt the need for more spatial activities to be incorporated into our homes. Along with it, our digital landscape has tremendously expanded! Almost every field has creatives producing content every second; eventually, we think this is creating a generation that appreciates individuality and is much more aware and open-minded. Thus, we've learnt that domestic adaptation should be determined as per current needs, not just history.
Being literal babies in the design industry, something we're glad we grasped this early on is that the process is so much more important than the final product. Keeping ourselves open to learning during the process has led us to detail and craft a better design in the end. Through a free-thinking and experimental process, we aim to bring unexpected objects and environments into everyday people's lives, with the objective of making every day a little less ordinary.
Lastly, we think there is a thin line between art and architecture that often gets blurred. Many claim that usability is what separates the two disciplines, but that is not always the case. We've realised when artists and architects embrace their ambiguity and work together, remarkable things can happen.”
Priyanka Itadkar and Falguni Bhatia established their studio in Mumbai, India. Their experience described above says a lot about their principle, and what guides their work, which is beautifully described through their Instagram page @theactofquad. The unique and exotic flavour they bring to each project displayed online is really something refreshing and different. All mixed with neutral and earthy tones that create a warm and happy atmosphere.
Fifi Interiors - Mimi Fisher and Kendall Field
"As a duo of creative female business owners, our most important lesson learned has been to always utilise the powerful combination of emotive intuition and analytical intellect. During the recent uncertain times, it has been crucial to practice self-belief & always remember our unique talents and skills as strong women leaders."
Fifi Interiors founded in the UK by Mimi Fisher and Kendall Field is about giving energy to a space through complex, refined, and unexpected designs. They put “experience first”.
I find the work of Fifi Interiors outstanding and simply impossible to ignore (or forget). Their aesthetic catches your eye and it is extremely fascinating. I really like the hand-drawn sketches which make their work and online profiles even more of a pleasure to follow.
Hai Design Studio – Haidyne Azevedo
"I firmly believe that the correct planning of a space impacts positively the people living in it, and I like to think that the work of an interior designer can give an important contribution to this improvement. I design to create atmospheres so that every space can tell its own story, whether it is for a family or a brand.”
Haidyne Azevedo founder of Hai starting from studies in publicity and marketing, eventually followed her passion in Interior Design, graduating in Milan. After a consistent experience, this path led her to open her own studio in 2016.
Hai works as an interior and design consultancy for commercial and residential spaces, as well as product and graphic design.
I met Haidyne through a common colleague on Instagram. Her work as an independent designer inspired me a lot. I really like the taste and sensibility that she is able to convey even through smaller product design projects.
I hope that, if you don’t know about these wonderful designers already, you may find the same inspiration I felt in discovering their work. And this is definitely something worth celebrating. Finally, there are many more inspiring women I could mention that affected positively my growth in this profession but it would probably take too long to mention all of them. I will take the opportunity to thank you all anyway for the strength and amazing work you deliver every day!