Mid-Century Modern Furniture Then and Now - Paradigm Gallery Blog

Archive for the ‘Women Pioneers of Architecture & Design’ Category

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid 1950-2016

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On April 15th

With a sad heart I thought I would share some quotes, some posts and just a smattering of the rich legacy Zaha left behind….



Zaha Hadid: 'Would they still call me a diva if I was a man?' By Sheena McKenzie, CNN

                               Zaha Hadid: ‘Would they still call me a diva if I was a man?’
                                                     By Sheena McKenzie, CNN

“Zaha Hadid’s work transcended a specific gender, religion, culture or space.”

SyndiGate.info http://www.albawaba.com/via dezeen.com bit.ly/1WoibNy & pinterest
Zaha Hadid 1950-2016: following the death of Zaha Hadid, we’ve updated our Pinterest board dedicated to her buildings to include more of the Pritzker-Prize winning architect’s ambitious and critically-acclaimed work. https://www.pinterest.com/dezeen/zaha-hadid-architects/     #‎architecture‬ ‪#‎pritzger‬ ‪#‎architects‬ ‪#‎zaha‬ ‪#‎zahahadid‬ ‪#‎starchitects‬

zaha-hadid-architecture-lifetime-projects-pinterest-board-dezeen-sq                                        Images via Dezeen and Pinterest



“Her architecture was modern and futuristic with very noticeable sensuous lines, she brought a femininity to Modernism.”

‪#‎ZahaHadid‬ image via Curbed
The London aquatics centre built for the 2012 Olympic Games. Photograph: John Walton/PA
drawing 1980’s https://www.facebook.com/zaha.hadid/

Hadid 1

Rem Koolhaus “I think she made an enormous contribution as a woman, but her greatest contribution is as an architect.”



“Step into one of her best buildings, and you feel anything is possible” Amanda Baillieu


Zaha                         Nick Hufton and Allan Crow have shared their favourite images

Zaha Hadid 1950-2016    ParadigmGallery/facebook April 4,2016images via Dezeen : bit.ly/1RWTqF3Nick Hufton and Allan Crow have shared their favorite images of her buildings…via Spotlight Zaha Hadid
zaha-jadid-design2(Virgile Simon Bertrand, Courtesy of the RIBA Architecture & Zaha Hadid Architects)
zaha-hadid-design3       (Christian Richters, Courtesy of the RIBA Architecture & Zaha Hadid Architects)



“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?”                                           Zaha Hadid

“As a woman, I’m expected to want everything to be nice and to be nice myself. A very English thing. I don’t design nice buildings – I don’t like them. I like architecture to have some raw, vital, earthy quality.”                                      Zaha Hadid

Architects and Their Chairs “A”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On April 14th

          A is for Aulenti

Gae Aulenti 1927-1912

Gae Aulenti 1927-1912

We begin this retrospective with Gae Aulenti (December 4, 1927 – October 31, 2012) an Italian architect, lighting and interior designer, and industrial designer. She was well known for several large-scale museum projects, including Musée d’Orsay in Paris (1980–86), the Contemporary Art Gallery at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985–86), and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (2000–2003). Information via Wikipedia

Quote: “advice to whoever asks me how to make a home is to not have anything, just a few shelves for books, some pillows to sit on. And then, to take a stand against the ephemeral, against passing trends…and to return to lasting values.”


                        Sparsal Rocking Chair 1962

Gae Aulenti Italian Architect , Industrial Designer Sparsul Rocking Chair 1962

Gae Aulenti Italian Architect , Industrial Designer
Sparsul Rocking Chair 1962




Gae Aulenti Italian Architect and Industrial Designer Tostapane

Gae Aulenti Italian Architect and Industrial Designer



tavolo con ruote

tavolo con ruote



Tour Table by Gae Aulenti Available through: www.mintshop.co.uk Pic: www.moggit.com

Tour Table by Gae Aulenti
Available through: www.mintshop.co.uk
Pic: www.moggit.com


Architect and Industrial Designer at Home Gae Aulenti

Architect and Industrial Designer at Home
Gae Aulenti



Architect and Industrial Designer at Home Gae Aulenti

Architect and Industrial Designer at Home
Gae Aulenti


Ms. Aulenti was one of the few Italian women to rise to prominence in architecture and design in the postwar years. Her work includes villas for the rich, showrooms for Fiat, shops for Olivetti, pens and watches for Louis Vuitton, and a coffee table on wheels that is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“I’ve always worked for myself, and it’s been quite an education. Women in architecture must not think of themselves as a minority, because the minute you do, you become paralyzed. It is most important to never create the problem.” Gae Aulenti


Marianne Brandt – Iconic Bauhaus Designer

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On January 2nd

Brandt will forever be associated with the ‘Bauhaus’. During the mid to late 1920’s Marianne Brandt was at the peak of her creative flow. She produced numerous designs, in quick succession, that are now considered icons of ‘Bauhaus’ design.

She was born in Germany in 1893. In 1911, Marianne went to study painting and sculpture at the Grand-ducal College of Fine Arts in Weimar, and remained there for seven years. Following her schooling, Marianne married a Norwegian painter named Erik Brandt.

The couple lived in Norway and the South of France, before joining the Weimar Bauhaus in 1923. At Bauhaus, Marianne became a student of László Moholy-Nagy, a Hungarian modernist theorist and designer, in the metal workshop. Erik Brandt returned alone to Norway, and the couple would eventually divorce 12 years later.

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Eileen Gray – The Story of a Self Made Female Designer

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On December 12th

“(Our furniture is) suited to our existence, in proportion to our rooms and in accordance with our aspirations and feelings.” -Eileen Gray

Eileen GrayUnlike most of the other women who made an impact on early 20th century design, Irish-born Eileen Gray did not have the advantage of working with a powerful male mentor. As a woman, Eileen Gray was also denied access to the supportive networks from which her male contemporaries benefited.

Even facing such challenges, Eileen Gray distinguished herself and is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century. In addition, she has been one of the most influential women in these fields. Her distinctive design style has inspired both modernism and “Art Deco”.

Eileen Gray initially sought after a career in drawing and painting. When she was 20 years old, she attended classes at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. After several years, and moves to Paris, Ireland, then back to London, Gray found that her drawing and painting courses were becoming less satisfying. She took an interest in lacquer work after coming across a lacquer repair shop in Soho.

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Greta Magnusson Grossman

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On November 7th

(California design) is not a superimposed style, but an answer to present conditions. It has developed out of our own preference for living in a modern way.” —Gretta Grossman

Greta Magnusson GrossmanGreta Magnusson Grossman often appeared alongside midcentury greats. She designed houses, interiors, and furniture, and gained a loyal and following that remains to this day.

Though she never gained the same level of fame as that of many of her contemporaries, she maintained a prolific forty-year career on two continents, Europe and North America, with achievements in industrial design, interior design, and architecture. Her work is remains admired and sought after by people around the world.

Greta Magnusson Grossman was a Swedish born architect and designer. When she landed in California in 1940, she declared that she needed “a car and some shorts.” As a new immigrant, it was the most American idea she could think of. At this point, Grossman was already an accomplished interior designer in her native land of Sweden.

She’d taken on numerous commissions in Stockholm, designing unique furniture and interiors. She’d garnered abundant press attention and accolades, and her work was exhibited frequently at “Galerie Moderne”, a cultural mecca in Stockholm at the time.

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Marion Mahony Griffin and husband Walter Burley Griffin, in Sydney in 1930

“We know immediately that we are in the presence of a force of nature, a woman of no uncertain opinions, a person possessed of deep convictions and profound spiritual experiences.”

– Excerpt from ‘Marion Mahony Reconsidered’

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Marion Mahony graduated from MIT in 1894, and was one of the first women to receive a degree in architecture. Her work in architecture began with the encouragement of her first cousin, Dwight Perkins, who had completed a program in MIT’s Department of Architecture three years earlier.

Though Marion was extremely talented, she struggled at times with her place in both society and the field of architecture. At MIT, she was unsure of her ability to complete the thesis required for her bachelors degree. However, her professor, Constant-Désiré Despradelle, pushed her forward.

After graduating from MIT, Mahony worked in her cousin’s architecture firm, which shared space with many architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1895 Mahony was the first employee hired by Frank Lloyd Wright. During her time working with Wright, Marion designed a variety of works, including:

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Do NOT Call Chloethiel Woodard Smith a “Woman Architect!”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On October 10th

Washington Square (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid)

“Smith was offended all of her life by the term “woman architect.” She felt it demeaned her work and ability as an architect.”

Chloethiel Woodard Smith was one of the leading mid-century modern architects in Washington. In fact, at the time, she was considered the most successful female architect in the country. Smith was the driving force behind many esteemed projects, including:

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Louise Blanchard Bethune

“… there is no need whatever of a woman architect. No one wants her, no one yearns for her and there is no special line in architecture to which she is better adapted than a man . [The woman architect] has exactly the same work to do as a man. When a woman enters the profession she will be met kindly and will be welcome but not as a woman, only as an architect.” ~ Louise Blanchard Bethune

In a predominantly masculine profession, Louise Blanchard Bethune proved that she could hold her own. It was also clear that Louise felt that there was no need to distinguish women and men architects from each other. She felt that they did the same job, and therefore required no special treatment.

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How Florence Schust Knoll Influenced More Than 50 Years of Interiors

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On September 12th

Florence Schust Knoll - Bertoia Diamond Chair

“Good design is good business.” -Florence Knoll

Known in familiar circles simply as “Shu”, Florence Schust Knoll was a memorable figure in mid- century modern design. She has had a profound influence on more than 50 years of buildings’ interiors.

Knoll graduated from the Kingswood School before studying at the famous Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She also received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Armour Institute, which is now the Illinois Institute of Technology. Following this, Florence Knoll briefly worked with many leaders of the Bauhaus movement, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and Wallace K. Harrison.

In the 1940’s, while working for Wallace K. Harrison in New York , Shu met a well known furniture company owner named Hans Knoll. She convinced Hans that, even in America’s wartime economy, she could help bring in business to his company by expanding into interior design and working with architects. He asked her to design an office for Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, along with many other jobs to follow. In 1946, Shu and Hans married and formed Knoll Associates, Inc.

Shu is famous for her “total design” philosophy. As the director of the Knoll Planning Unit, she revolutionized interior space planning. Her approach was to embrace everything about a space. This included:

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How Charlotte Perriand Influenced Le Corbusier’s Work

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On August 30th

Charlotte Perriand (Photo Courtesy of Flickr User Knowtex)

“Life was good…and I filled my lungs with it.” -Charlotte Periand

At 24 years old, Charlotte Perriand made a lasting impression on Le Corbusier, when she walked into his studio and asked for a job as a furniture designer. His response? He showed her the door and replied, “We don’t embroider cushions here”.

However, Perriand quickly earned his apology. A few months later, Le Corbusier saw the impressive “glacial Bar sous le Toît” (rooftop bar) that Perriand had created in glass, chrome, and aluminum, for the Salon D’Automne exhibition in Paris. After seeing this amazing display of Charlotte’s talent, he invited her to come join him in his studio.

Together with Le Corbusier, and his partner Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand designed a series of tubular steel chairs, based on Corbusier’s principles. These chairs were then – and continue today – to be hailed as icons of the “machine age”.

Many would say that the most famous Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret models may never have existed as we know them, had it not been for Charlotte Perriand. She was recognized by Le Corbusier as having extraordinary talent for interior design.

Although Charlotte was loyal to the concept of Corbusier, she was free to steer the project to its end result. This type of relationship between designer and company created a beautiful harmony that resulted in some amazing works. Each piece renders a quality design and an expression of minimum values, yet with profound depth.

In addition to her work as a respected designer, Charlotte was also very socially conscious. She strongly advocated for improved social conditions and quality of life, and was involved with many organizations such as:

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