Women, Design – Women truly lead design innovation in Los Angeles. Check these 7 LA-based female designers blending their femininity with their strength, values, and cultural references to create tactile crafts, bold and bespoke furniture with naughty hints, and an elegant and interactive cabinet of wonders.
Leah Ring is the multidisciplinary designer behind Another Human, the L.A.-based studio she launched in 2017. Ring creates one-of-a-kind objects, furniture, and jewelry aimed at challenging traditional constructs of form, proportion, and materiality. Drawing inspiration from sources ranging from the Memphis Group to outer space, her aesthetic is playful yet highly considered, often blurring the line between design and art. Another Human’s ultimate collections include amoeba-like acrylic tables and Borden, an oversized blue velvet chair with six offset legs. Zorg is an extra-terrestrial creature in the form of an abstract high-back chair that comes across as a friendly being. And Rebi is a utilitarian side table set on casters, who may as well be a robot.
Cindy Hsu Zell explores the influence of gravity in composition to create minimal and textural sculptures. Her large-scale fiber wall artworks are made from sustainably-sourced natural fibers, wood, and metal woven together according to her own technique for spinning and dyeing rope. Her works have a distinctive tactile imprint.
(wh)ORE HAüS STUDIOS blends marble with leather and brass to create bold and bespoke furniture designs with, in some cases, naughty hints of S&M and sexual undertones. The provocative brand was founded by Meyghan Hill, a model who empowered herself by picking up a welding torch after a breakup. “(wh)ORE HAüS is a play on words. ORE is a source from which valuable matter (as metal) is extracted. Adding the (wh) infuses the brand with a provocative, unapologetic air of femininity. The word (wh)ORE has taken on a semantic shift from a sexually derogatory denotation to an empowering connotation.” Explains Meyghan Hill.
Tactile Matter, this is Kenesha Sneed’s motto, as well as the name of her studio. The multidisciplinary illustrator and designer mixes pixels, clay, paint, and coconut oil to create furniture and home accessories with a distinct tactile imprint. Whether they are combs, vases, or rugs, they all ask to be touched, caressed, or held in hand to reveal their warm and delicate soul.
Estudio Persona was founded by Emiliana Gonzalez and Jessie Young. Their collaborative process, female minimalism, and Uruguayan roots bring a refreshing juxtaposition to their furniture and object design. “Our design evokes natural forms, sculptural lines, and the absence of color, all based on the melancholy of their distinctly neutral and minimal take on Uruguay as more brutalist than bright sun-soaked skies,” explain the designers. Leather meets wood forms, while steel and glass are bent to evoke softness.
Textile design studio Block Shop was established by artist sisters Hopie and Lily Stockman; they head back to India every year to research Jaipur techniques, materials, and patterns. At LA Design Festival, they presented and “imagined a theatrical throne for the queen of lyrical geometric abstraction, Sonia Delaunay,” and characterised it with bright colours, repetitive patterns, and simple shapes.
At Los Angeles Design Festival 2019, Elena Manferdini won the ICON Award, which recognizes iconic women who have made an indelible mark on Los Angeles, culture, and society. With a body of work that spans art, architecture, exhibitions, and industrial design, her Atelier Manferdini has created work on over three continents. Her recent Cabinet of Wonders entry gate at the La Peer Hotel plays with the notion that a door is a place of discovery and wonder.