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Celebrating Women in Design

March is women’s history month and we’re thrilled to bring you some of the greatest female designers of the 20th century.

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky

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Photo courtesy of Enciclopedia Delle Donne.

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky was the first female to study at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and was only accepted because of a letter of recommendation from a certain Gustav Klimt. She was winning prizes for her designs even before graduation and went on to design homes and furniture for decades to come. She passed away in 2000 at the ripe old age of 102.

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Frauen-Werk-Stadt housing project, 1954. Photo courtesy of Elsa Prochazka.

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Folding dining set, 1925. Photo courtesy of Maharam.com.

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Lihotzky’s famous “Frankfurt Kitchen,” 1920s. Photo courtesy of Maharam.com.

Aino Aalto

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The wife and partner of famed Finnish architect Alvar Aalto was an architect and designer in her own right. She spent her professional career right at her husband’s side, collaborating on designs and architecture, as well as completing many works on her own. Her glassware designs for a Iittala-Karhula competition actually beat out the designs submitted by her husband, and the Aino Aalto glass is still sold by Iittala today.

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The “Aino Aalto Glass,” 1932. Photo courtesy of Iitala.

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The Aalto House, designed by both Alvar and Aino Aalto, 1936. Photo courtesy of Helsinki.

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Easy Chair, 1940s. Photo courtesy of Nord 3.

Charlotte Perriand

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Perriand alongside Le Corbuseir at the rue de Sevres studio in Paris, 1930s. Photo courtesy of the Design Museum.

Charlotte Perriand was a French architect and designer. Her work aimed to create functional living spaces in the belief that better design helps in creating a better society. Her work in Le Corbusier’s firm put her on the map and the furniture she designed for him was timeless. Le Corbusier’s B301, LC2, and B306 were actually designed by Perriand.

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LC Swivel Chair and 516 Ospite Desk, 1927. Photo courtesy of Mediation.centrepompidou.fr.

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Arcs 1600, Résidence La Cascade, 1969. Photo courtesy of Mediation.centrepompidou.fr.

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Library of the apartment Jacques Martin in Rio de Janeiro, 1962. Photo courtesy of Mediation.centrepompidou.fr.

Chloethiel Woodard Smith

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Photo courtesy of Harbour Square.

Born in 1910, Chloethiel Woodard Smith was considered a leading architect of her generation and the top female architect of her time. She single-handedly designed half of the structures built in mid-century Washington D.C., as well as many beautiful homes throughout Virginia. An activist for the arts, Smith also spearheaded the campaign to create a National Building Museum in D.C., which still exists today.

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Metro station at National Airport in Washington D.C., 1967. Photo courtesy of Jesse Peterson.

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Home designed for Nathan and Alice Bindeman, 1966. Photo courtesy of Plastolux.

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The Blake Building, 1966. Photo courtesy of the Streets of Washington.

Featured Architects: Kemper Nomland and Kemper Nomland Jr.

Case Study House #10 was never intended to be part of Arts and Architecture’s Case Study House Program. It wasn’t until after the handsome post-and-beam home was designed that the program administrators decided to include Kemper Nomland and Kemper Nomland Jr. in the mix of prestigious architects.

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Case Study House #10 in Pasadena, 1947. Photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture Magazine.

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Case Study House #10 in Pasadena, 1947. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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Case Study House #10 in Pasadena, 1947. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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Case Study House #10 in Pasadena, 1947. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

It’s not hard to see why. The work of this father and son team was top-notch, and exemplary of the minimalist modern ideals of the day. Even now, the current owners of Case Study House #10 are working to restore it to its original simple beauty. That was not the only masterpiece by the Kempler Nomland duo.  See a few more of their designs below:

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Mount Washington home, 1950. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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Mount Washington home, 1950. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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Mount Washington home, 1950. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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Albers Residence in Pasadena, 1955. Photo courtesy of @Michael Locke on Flickr.

 

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Albers Residence in Pasadena, 1955. Photo courtesy of @Michael Locke on Flickr.

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Albers Residence in Pasadena, 1955. Photo courtesy of @Michael Locke on Flickr.

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Albers Residence in Pasadena, 1955. Photo courtesy of @Michael Locke on Flickr.

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Apex Apartments in Silver Lake, 1960s. Photo courtesy of @Michael Locke on Flickr.

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Apex Apartments in Silver Lake, 1960s. Photo courtesy of @Michael Locke on Flickr.

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Apex Apartments in Silver Lake, 1960s. Photo courtesy of @Michael Locke on Flickr.