The design industry would be nowhere without its women thinkers and creators. In celebration of International Women's Day, we've gathered a selection of our favourite products conceived by designers bringing new narratives to the field.

Photo: Ronald Smits

INERT DOMESTIC SYSTEM

Célestine Peuchot

Conceptual designer Célestine Peuchot’s Inert Domestic System project is a series of six furniture pieces marking an investigation of manufacturing processes and a mix of materials and techniques. The objects, forged from blue ceramic gear, glass neon tubes, acrylic elements and an aluminium structure, ‘demonstrate that artisanal and industrial manufacturing are less at odds with each other than is commonly perceived’. After graduating from Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2017, Peuchot attended Design Academy Eindhoven where she completed her studies for the Master Contextural Design programme last year. Her work focuses on both spatial and product design.

DROSS

Rashmi Bidasaria
India’s steel sector is a major contributor to the country’s manufacturing output, but unfortunately to its waste pile, too. Large quantities of slag – a by-product of the molten iron processing industry – end up in landfills every year, heavily impacting the environment. But in the hands of Mumbai-born designer Rashmi Bidasaria, this trash is turned into treasure. To complete her Master’s at London’s Royal College of Art, she returned to her roots and joined forces with factory workers of recycling steel scrap foundry Southern Ferro Ltd to develop Dross, a series of tables and benches made out of rammed remnants. ‘The artefacts created through this process are meant to start a dialogue about the consumption of materials and manufacturing processes by allowing room for thought to develop a more responsible sense towards use of resources,’ she says.

PAPIRSTEIN

Poppy Lawman

With Papirstein, Oslo-based English designer – a self-proclaimed ‘maker of slow furniture and objects –Poppy Lawman culminates her interests in transparent processes, locality, form and emotional design. The up-and-coming creative developed the chair utilizing compressed spruce paper pulp, employing a technique typically for packaging manufacturing. A collaboration with the 122-year-old Norwegian paper mill Hellefoss Paper, the project investigates taking a circular approach for furniture production as Papirstein’s composition fulfills three main criteria: its recyclable, degradable and renewable.

MUTUAL

Modular by Mensah

The first major collection of UK studio Modular by Mensah, Mutual examines the ‘decline of interaction in public spaces’. A group of abstract, reconfigurable furniture parts, Mutual is a ‘physical invitation’ to design one’s own social space. The pieces, upholstered in a variety of colours and made of recycled or by-product materials, arrange into a highly tactile, intimate environment. With a premium on sustainability, the studio has all pieces made in the UK, and recon foam is used to construct new designs.  Modular by Mensah founder Kusheda Mensah is a British-born Ghanian designer who explains that her  passion for designing furniture and lifestyle objects ‘began whilst embarking on a bachelor’s degree in print design at the London College of Communication’.

LAZY CHAIR

Studio Kiff

Hélène Thiffault and Rachel Bussin, the duo behind Montreal-based commercial interior design firm Studio Kiff, utilizes colours, shapes and texture as tools to devise real personal experience in what they call an ‘enfant terrible aesthetic’. One of their latest designs, the Lazy Chair, strikes a balance between looks and comfort. Playing with the contrast of softness and hardness the designers formed the piece using Dover white quartzite and gentle down cushions upholstered in cream leather, achieving an elegant yet inviting result.

STOCKHOLM-FONT.STL

Fiona Herrod

A running theme in recent Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Fiona Herrod’s portfolio is the exploration of online creative commons such as museum collections, file libraries of 3D-scanned artefacts and image archives. The British designer seeks to find new ways of using the open-source content: her project Stockholm-font.stl considers how ‘objects once reserved for the museum can be “democratized” and enter the homes of the public’. Taking a source file – after which the work is named after – and a digital copy of a plaster font from the V&A Museum, Herrod reconfigured the file into a collection of household items including a plate, side plate, mug, dog bowl, bucket, planter, wash-up bowl and brush.

BALENCIAGA JEWELLERY

Shahar Livne

To show its AW21 collection, Balenciaga launched the video game Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow. The fashion brand tapped designer Shahar Livne to design a jewellery line fit for the game’s imaginative future world – one in which clothing ‘is meant to transform over many years and can be worn for decades or reused forever, showing the ageing process of materials as a desired aesthetic’. Building off her Metamorphism research project which began in 2017, Livne speculated on the day plastic waste will merge with natural matter, becoming a whole new resource. From this speculative material – which she dubs ‘Lithoplast’ – she sculpted the digital jewellery for Balenciaga.

HEMP-IT-YOURSELF

Hannah Segerkrantz

Citing the myriad sustainable benefits of hemp, Estonian designer Hannah Segerkrantz drew up a semi-modular system for the DIY production of furniture pieces utilizing the biocomposite hempcrete. ‘The aim of [Hemp-it-Yourself] is to encourage the use of natural materials and local, on-demand production,’ says Segerkrantz. Stemming from her interest for the relationship between humans and their surroundings, Segerkrantz’s project is part of a larger body of design and material research ‘combining values of ecology, craftsmanship and democratic design’ – she seeks to create tools that help us bridge our connection with the environments we inhabit.