08 March 2022

IED Barcelona’s teachers and department coordinators highlight the trajectories of women who revolutionised the different disciplines of design

‘Fountain’ (1917), the famous urinal that Marcel Duchamp presented at the Society of Independent Artists in New York, became an artistic landmark, being the first readymade to appear in an exhibition. Many years later, numerous studies called its authorship into question, pointing to the forgotten artist Elsa Von Freytag as the possible brains behind this idea. 

Beyond this well-known case, there is no doubt that women have written key chapters in the history of art and design, not always receiving the public recognition that their contributions to these disciplines have deserved.

On International Women’s Day, some of IED Barcelona’s teachers and department coordinators wanted to highlight the trajectories of women who revolutionised the different disciplines of design: from the most popular figures to the designers who remained, unjustly, in the background; from the pioneers to those who play a fundamental role in their professional field today.

Manuela Procopio

Management Area Coordinator

As a driver of innovation, design is increasingly present within the discipline of management – a field traditionally dominated by men, but where women are gaining strength by leaps and bounds.  The Director of IED Barcelona’s Management Area, Manuela Procopio, has drawn attention to the significant contribution made by Birgit Mager , “a pioneer in the teaching of Service Design and founder of the Service Design Network (2003), which promotes everything related to this discipline”.

Pilar Pasamontes

Scientific Director Fashion Area

Beyond aesthetic considerations, fashion is a reflection of the society in which it develops, its behaviour and its evolution. Pilar Pasamontes underlines the names of numerous women behind the great ideas that shaped this industry, and the socio-cultural role of women. Among them, she gives a special mention to Mary Quant, who “from London, marked a before and after by promoting a radical change with the introduction of the miniskirt”, turning this piece into a symbol of transgression of the prevailing considerations regarding the female sex.

Marina Ojan

Academic Director of IED Spain

IED Spain’s Academic Director Marina Ojan highlights the work of Gae Aulenti: Architect, Designer, Urban Planner and Set Designer. “She left an indelible imprint on many cities around the world, and managed to establish herself as a complete figure despite the historical period and the predominantly male environment of the time”. Gae Aulenti, by Gorup de Besanez – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 “Unjustly forgotten as the architect of some of the icons of the Made in Italy design industry – Ojan elaborates – her iconic creations played a pivotal role in the field of Product Design during the 1960s”.

Raffaella Perrone

Design Area Coordinator

Charlotte Perriand is one of the names that stands out for IED Barcelona’s Design School Director, Raffaella Perrone. A collaborator of Le Corbusier and a representative of the 20th century cultural avant-garde and rationalism, Perriand “was a protagonist in the aesthetic revolution of the modern era, as well as an icon among women designers”.   With a multidisciplinary profile that encompassed product, furniture and spatial design, her open-minded talent enabled her to incorporate Japanese and other cultural influences into her work.  

Joana Lliteras 

Master Visual Area

Within IED Barcelona’s Master School, Academic Coordinator Joana Lliteras choose the Graphic and Typography Designer Laura Meseguer, a member of the collective, a foundation where she publishes and promotes a wide range of her type designs. Her Rumba, Lalola and Qandus typefaces have received the TDC TypeDesign Competition Award from the Type Directors Club of New York, and Frankie, a Laus Award.

Susana Zarco

Master Design Area

Hella Jongerius is, according to the Design Coordinator of the Master School, Susana Zarco, a clear exponent within the world of design, because of her “products resulting from processes of research, trial and error, conceived with a deep respect for traditional techniques without dismissing new technologies”.

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