22 Inspiring Projects by Top Female Designers

Today may be International Women's Day, but female designers are busy at work all year long. So we're celebrating by highlighting 22 top projects designed by women in 2018.

1. Shinola Hotel by Christine Gachot of Gachot Studios

As the lead designer, Christine Gachot chose a warm combination of caramels, browns, and a signature blue. In the living room lounge, the woodburning fireplace and Italian marble mantel are newly added. Mohair-covered sofas are among the many American-made furnishings throughout the property.

2. Hele International Art Center by Ming Leung of Pone Architecture

A curious remark by Leung's daughter inspired this project's interior. Leung followed her sense of wonder with a design that mimicked the way bubbles stretch as they float through the air.

3. Thousand Oaks Residence by Nicole Hollis

White walls and beamed ceilings throughout provide a clean backdrop, but a few walls were painted dark colors to add depth and interest. Soft celadon and other barely-there tones distinguish furnishings, the hues inspired by eggs from the chickens the home's family used to keep in Malibu. 

4. Blue Lagoon Retreat Hotel and Spa by Sigríður Sigþórsdóttir of Basalt Architects

The interconnected structures are built with concrete—much of it cast off-site to ensure the greatest precision and to protect the fragile ecosystem—wrapped, moatlike, by the lagoon itself. A good amount of the wood throughout is Brazilian cherry, a particularly sturdy hardwood.

5. Headlands Coastal Lodge and Spa by Jennifer Johanson of EDG Interior Architecture + Design

Johanson conceived an about-face for decades of hospitality thinking. After spending time kayaking and crabbing in the area, she decided Headlands would be more focused on the outdoors than the luxury of downtown shops.

6. Ideas Lab by Li Xiang of X + Living

Located in Shanghai’s central Minhang district, this two-story lab occupies 11,800 square feet in a former factory building. Li focused on the neighborhood’s industrial legacy when looking for inspiration, thinking about the physical and economic aspects of manufacturing as ways out of the Matrix-style imagery that has come to be the default aesthetic for many IT-related projects.

7. AllBright by Katie Earl and Emma Rayner of No.12

The design duo harkened back to the seemingly immortal words of Virginia Woolf: It was time to make "a room of one's own" for this all-women's space in London. However, they decided against any pink tones. The furnishings were sourced from female-led businesses.

8. Kimpton La Peer Hotel by Gulla Jónsdóttir Architecture + Design



This project came together so well, Jónsdóttir has moved her studio into a bright, raw space on the hotel’s ground floor. Upstairs, the 105 guest rooms and suites feature a mixture of textures and patterns. Here, oak slats back a suite’s headboard.

9. San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

This hotel is part of a new brand of hotel and residential properties that Wearstler is currently working on. The next three Proper projects will be in downtown Los Angeles, Austin, and Santa Monica.

10. The Kent by Alexandra Champalimaud of Champalimaud Design

Champalimaud is known for her audacious approach to hospitality, and she didn't hold back for this condominium tower. The lobby’s Preciosa chandeliers illuminate Stamford Modern benches and white polished lacquer tables by Cuff Home.

11. Viacom Los Angeles by Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio

Rottet worked with Yetta Banksvice president of design and construction at Viacom, on their Los Angeles headquarters. Banks helped select every single piece of lounge furniture.

12. Hudson Yards Apartment by Elena Frampton of Frampton Co

Though her eponymous firm has developed a signature blend of quirk and luxury in residences throughout New York City, it’s this model apartment at the 15 Hudson Yards high-rise on Chelsea’s north edge that might be its boldest work yet.

13. Le Meridien AC Hotel Denver by Lisa Simeone and Gina Deary of Simeone Deary

For the combination of two hotels, Simeone and Deary used a French woman as a muse for the Le Meridien and a Spanish man for the AC. They based their design decisions on the relationship between the two.

14. Stumptown Brooklyn by Jessica Helgerson

Helgerson re-envisioned an 1860’s former firehouse in leafy Cobble Hill as Stumptown's newest location. An enclosed take on a garden patio greets caffeine hounds, and their canine companions, with steel sash doors that lead into the retail space and back lounge with ample banquettes.

15. Adolphus Hotel by Samantha Sano and Joslyn Taylor of Swoon, the Studio

Sano and Taylor were ambitious as they tackled each communal space with an eye to modernize all the decadence without diminishing the original 1912 design. The idea was to restore the former glories, but with some restraint. In the French Room Bar, a Mr. Brown London chandelier glitters between the ceiling’s Phillip Jeffries gold leaf wallcovering and the bar itself, made of stained white oak and topped with honed black marble.

16. The Department Store by Maria Cheung of Squire and Partners

This London office shows how to pay tribute to a heritage building’s past while propelling it into the present day. A derelict annex of an 1870s former Bon Marché department store—and an adjoining Victorian Gothic former firehouse—was repurposed into a mixed-use entity. Cheung decided to bring original brick- and woodwork, tile, marble, and terra-cotta elements back to life throughout the space. 

17. Aranya Kids’ Restaurant by Erni Min of Wutopia Lab

For this project, the team shifted into neutrals, with a few well-placed strokes of yellow and red. Trippy funhouse mirrors, gravity-defying vertical gardens, giant “soap bubbles,” and a balloon-strewn ceiling help spark the imagination.

18. NoHo Duplex by Lilian H. Weinreich

Minimal and impossibly chic, the palette of this home comprises only four main materials: glass, blackened steel, treated oak, and milk-white paint. Delicate glass pendants over the kitchen island foster an airy, minimal vibe.

19. Birch by Anna Lvovskaya of DA Architecture Bureau

Stainless steel, ubiquitous in commercial kitchens, composes the tiered lighting canopy above the 15-foot-long communal table. Oiled ash, chosen to approximate birch, which is difficult to source in Russia, tops the custom dining tables. It reappears as floor-to-ceiling rods along the dining area’s perimeter, so visitors feel as if they’re breaking bread in a forest.

20. Breanna Carlson of bStudio designs her own apartment

Business and pleasure can indeed mix—when a designer is her own client. Such was the case with Carlson, who renovated an apartment at 560 State Street (also known as one of Jay-Z’s former residences) into an intensely personal home worthy of her work portfolio.

21. Refettorio Felix by Ilse Crawford of Studioilse

Crawford incorporates a love of history and editing skills on a steady influx of commercial and residential projects. Paper lanterns light this community kitchen, dining hall and drop-in center in London.

22. Asbury Lanes by Anda Andrei Design

The Interior Design Hall of Fame member reassembled with Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture and Design to bring the 1960s bowling alley—legendary for its live music, late nights, and, of course, lanes—to the 21st century while retaining its rocker patina. 

Let's hear it for the ladies. Read last year's article on 20 female designers who are shaping the industry.

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