16 WOMEN PUSHING DESIGN FORWARD IN THE UNITED STATES
Design is everywhere. It’s embedded in the screens we tap, the chairs we sit on, and the systems that pump clean water into our communities.
Across the American design landscape, innovators are creating new furniture, products, graphics, and exhibitions every day; educators are cultivating the next generation of designers; and writers and thinkers are guiding contemporary discourse in the field.
But even today, in a world that is striving for gender equity, it remains difficult for women to excel in the design world. Recent studies published by the AIA (the national professional association of architects) and AIGA (the professional association for design) reveal that, while design and architecture programs attract female and minority students, “the professions don’t retain them,” explains design critic Alexandra Lange, “and the numbers are particularly small at the leadership level.”
Motivated by these imbalances, we [Artsy] spotlight 16 women who are transcending these statistics and leading progressive change in their fields. From Lindsey Adelman’s biomorphic lighting to Liz Ogbu’s socially engaged design projects to Paola Antonelli’s radical approach to curation and collecting, these creatives are using design to bring beauty and functionality to daily life, to preserve the rich history of their field, and to tackle urgent social issues of our times—including discrimination, women’s rights, and access to clean water.
...Demisch’s obsession with design began with a teenage pastime: foraging for antiques. “I got hooked on how much there was to know and learn about even a single object,” she says. Fast forward to 2005, when Demisch opened her chic Manhattan design gallery with co-founder Stephane Danant. Demisch Danant, as it’s called, has since become the go-to source for collectors on the hunt for the best of 1960s and ’70s French furniture, in particular.
The duo has become known for presenting sinuous chairs, desks, and chaise lounges by the likes of Maria Pergay and Pierre Paulin, within period interiors. At design fairs like Design Miami/, this approach makes for perennially elegant booths. It also reflects Demisch’s commitment to showing work within a historical context and supporting it with extensive monographs and scholarship.
The gallery recently mounted a show of 86-year-old Pergay’s new work. For Demisch, bringing awareness to her six-decade career and developing her current market have been two of the gallery’s greatest accomplishments.
Text by Alexxa Gotthardt