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Introducing Treefrog Open.
Open to possibility.
Open to design.
Open to creativity.
Libby Sellers’ newest book, “Women Design,” takes a look
at the 120-year history of women in the industry, from
architecture to digital design.
So begins design historian, curator, writer, and consultant
Libby Sellers’ new book, “Women Design.” Looking at all facets of
design, including architecture, textile, product, industrial, graphic,
digital media, set design, and vehicle design, “Women Design”
chronicles a 120-year history from Kazuyo Sejima and Ray Eames
to Eva Zeisel and Patricia Urquiola.
interiors+sources sat down with Sellers to discuss her latest work.
interiors+sources: How did the idea for the book come about?
Libby Sellers: As a design historian and having worked with contemporary designers for the last 20 years, it was hard not to notice
the disparity within my industry. Women make up nearly three-quarters of the design student population at colleges and universities yet this figure drops dramatically to less than one quarter when
it comes to the actual industry. Whatever the rationale behind the
gender bias, it has already eliminated or repressed an overwhelming
majority of talent in the industry. To continue without championing
a balance would only encourage an impoverished future for design
as a result.
i+s: How does one research female designers? They tend to be
absent from history books.
LS: Fortunately, since the 1980s, a wave of feminist historians
began asking,“Where did all the women go?” It is a tribute to their
successes that so many names that were once forgotten, ignored,
or undocumented have been restored to their rightful place.
Obviously, 40 years later, a lot of groundwork has been made but
most would agree that the job is far from complete.
“Women have always been, and remain, a significant part of the design profession—as
practitioners, commentators, educators,
and commissioners. Yet, if asked to name
the design world’s greats, most people
would produce a list of predominantly