In time for National Women’s Day, Absolutely celebrates women in design

Words Pearl Boyd

WOMEN IN DESIGN

Amélie du Passage founded design brand Petite Friture in 2009 with the aim of asserting a distinct style and bringing with her an emerging French and European design scene. After its first five years, Petite Friture succeeded in disseminating its style and putting its name to products through more than forty collaborations, including the well-known Vertigo light, designed by Constance Guisset, which became a remarkable success. Recent collaborations include the Jetlag wallpaper by French illustrator, Lisa Laubreaux, the Dojo collection by AC/AL Studio and Max Enrich’s Thin coffee table; all of which were launched at 2018’s Maison&Objet.

Fran Hickman founded her design studio in January 2014. Working with architectural partners and contractors across a wide variety of residential and commercial interiors, as well as on custom products and furniture, Fran’s work is recognised for its bespoke, highly tailored approach. She draws on an extensive art and design vocabulary to create environments that are both elegant and engaging. Before establishing her own studio, Fran worked on interiors across the Soho House Group as well as for Waldo Works, where clients included Selfridges Personal Shopping, Smythson on Bond Street and Temperley. She has worked on residential projects all over Europe and in the United States.

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Jessica Mason launched Piglet in January 2017 having worked for six years in PR and marketing in London and Dubai. During that time she represented a whole host of brands – from Aesop and Ray-Ban to Christian Louboutin – which helped to shape her idea of the kind of company she’s building. Jessica believes this is a really exciting time for e-commerce with more and more ways emerging to connect directly with customers in a meaningful and personal way. Piglet offers modern rustic bedding made from 100% French Flax linen available in a variety of on-trend colours including Sage, Blush, Dove Grey, and White. Jessica believes that a beautiful home doesn’t need to be high maintenance but that with high quality, natural basics even an unmade bed can be beautiful.

Ursula L’Hoste founded German design brand pulpo, in 2008, with her husband, Patrick L’Hoste. Prior to establishing pulpo, Ursula worked in marketing for various companies in Germany, London, and Basel. Ursula has a keen interest in contemporary art and together with Patrick, collects contemporary paintings, sculptures, and photographs from Frances Bacon and Cindy Sherman, to lesser known, younger and undiscovered artists. This mutual love for contemporary art inspired the celebration of colour, material, and texture which is at the heart of pulpo. Today, Ursula is in charge of all client management at pulpo.

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Founded by the Essex girl Carolyn Clewer, and Parisienne Tiphaine de Lussy, Paris Essex is the result of years of collaboration between the two knitwear and textiles specialists, which began 26 years ago at the Royal College of Art. Paris Essex’s Crazy Blankets represent a creative dialogue between Clewer and de Lussy; the two take it in turns to play with crochet and knit, using mohair, wool and super-synthetics. Each blanket takes on its own personality as it grows organically and fluidly, with a process more akin to collage or patchwork than meticulously planned design. With names such as Heebie Jeebie, Zig Zag Bunny and Miss Harlow, each blanket tells its own story, mixing in patterns, shapes
and characters.

Defne Koz is co-founder and partner of Koz Susani Design, an award winning, innovative studio based in Chicago where she designs iconic, emotionally engaging and award winning products and experiences. Her idea of design is influenced by her training in Ettore Sottsass’ studio, as well as her Turkish and Italian culture and her curiosity for different product types. To coincide with the recent Milan Design Week, Defne Koz collaborated with Istanbul-based design brand Nude to create the stunning Foresta coloured glass candle holder and the Layers coloured glass vase; both instant successes.

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Whether it is textile wardrobes, marbled mirrors or plates with real flowers,  German designer Meike Harde’s pieces of furniture, lighting, and accessories combine constructive as well as intuitive elements, always with a subtle poetic character. “An ornament should also serve a purpose”, says the award-winning designer from Cologne, who deliberately questions and reinterprets common production techniques. Meike’s works have been featured in numerous exhibitions, including the Holon Design Museum in Tel Aviv, and are distributed through a number of internationally renowned design manufacturers. Meike Harde met pulpo at the beginning of her career, while she was exhibiting in various galleries. Patrick and Ursula from pulpo fell in love with her experimental and methodical approach with colours and materials. Today, pulpo have worked with Meike Harde to produce three different designs, including Miro, Miro on the wall and most recently, the Potpourri glassware collection – all demonstrating her deep and sensitive understanding of shapes, shades, and surfaces.

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