Needlework is the natural work of women; it should be the only work for women, it is work that does not take her away from the home and does not distance her from the cradle and the hearth.”
Gio Ponti, Domus, 1939
Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, women were the minority in the profession of design, struggling to express their voices in a male-dominated field. Typically trained in traditionally “feminine” skills such as pottery, silversmithing, and textiles, professional female designers are responsible for only a small percentage of furniture and lighting design of this period. Yet, despite the significant gender imbalance, women designers triumphed—producing provocative objects in this era that continue to shine.
This exhibition celebrates the superb achievements, skills, and contributions of European female designers throughout five formative decades. Their work shaped modern design; from the post-war years, to the women’s liberation movement, Postmodernism, Minimalism, and through the closing years of the twentieth century. Focusing on individual professional talents, this exhibition highlights the considerable and victorious accomplishments of women designers and their lasting impact on modern design. The pieces presented in this exhibition represent the very small percentage of furniture and lighting designed by women, whose daring and cutting-edge objects achieved a high standard of quality and excellence in a time of rampant gender discrimination.
Exhibiting works by 50 furniture and lighting designers and taking over Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s two floors, The Female Voice in Modern Design, 1950-2000 will open in February 2022. It will present an unprecedented collection of works organized by decade, with each section showcasing the best designs by female European designers. The works will be examined within the broader context of the decades in which they were created, with special attention paid to the state of the design world and period tastes. Themes such as feminism, oppression, technological innovation, the “contemporary,” and the increasing presence of women in the world of design will also be explored. All works on display will be offered for sale.
Eva Zeisel; Greta Magnusson Grossman; Vera Szekely; Mado Jolain; Charlotte Perriand; Line Vautrin; Denyse Gatard; Franca Helg; Luisa Parisi; Tove Kindt-Larsen; Maria Lindeman.
Pia Manu; Janine Abraham; Jacqueline Lecoq; Lisa Johansson-Pape; Nanna Ditzel; Gae Aulenti; Lina Bo Bardi; Maija Heikinheimo; Grete Jalk; Antonia Campi; Helena Tynell; Liisi Beckmann.
Cini Boeri; Nanda Vigo; Maria Pergay; Louise Nevelson; Eileen Gray; Eleanora Peduzzi-Riva; Gabriella Crespi; Marion Baruch; Marie-Claude de Fouquieres; Sabine Charoy.
Claude Lalanne; Nathalie Du Pasquier; Anna Castelli Ferrieri; Isabelle Serre; Elizabeth Garouste.
Zaha Hadid; Caroline Schlyter; Ayala Serfaty; Hella Jongerius; Louise Campbell; Paloma Garrido.