Written by Caitlin Agnew
It’s no secret that some of the world’s most talented designers are also highly accomplished women. Without the creativity of women like Eileen Gray, Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Lilly Reich and Patricia Urquiola, we wouldn’t enjoy such household classics as the Bibendum Chair, the Eames Lounge Chairs or the Barcelona Chair. Many of the beloved items at Quasi Modo were created by a new wave of fascinating female designers, including the three below, who consistently add the most interesting work to our collection.
This multi-disciplinary Italian designer is the main force behind the legendary design house Gervasoni. Born in Milan, Paola Navone graduated in 1973 from the Turin Politecnico with a degree in architecture. Throughout the seventies she worked with the best in avant-garde Italian designers, invaluable experience which would help her to win the first ever Osaka International Design Award in 1983. Working in fields beyond design (Navone also has the impressive titles of architect, art director, interior designer, critic, teacher and event planner on her extensive portfolio), she’s also contributed her talent to international labels like Swarovski, Knoll International, Roche Bobois and Piazza Sempione to name a few.
Spanish designer Nani Marquina launched her eponymous line of rugs and textiles in 1987 after studying industrial design at the Escuela Massana of Barcelona. As the first textile designer to focus her production on rugs, Marquina has always placed emphasis on sourcing the finest raw materials and on perfecting the manufacturing process. Six years into the business, she moved her facilities to India, thereby solidifying the unique aesthetic that would come to characterize her brand. The company has earned international acclaim with several awards, including Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year, a title Nani received from FIDEM in 2007.
A designer with the world class Bonaldo team, Kaori Shiina studied art and literature at the University of SEIJO before uncovering her true passion at Tokyo’s Gaguin Institute of Design. Working with Urbino Lomazzi since the eighties, Shiina branched out with her own studio in 2005. Primarily focusing on industrial design, Shiina’s work includes furniture, ceramic tiles and even consumer products such as tea canisters decorated with wooden leaves. With interior design projects in both Italy and Japan, Shiina’s work truly bridges the aesthetic gap between the two stylistic traditions.