Although our list of designers is slightly male dominant, this female designer was one of the pioneers of the modernist design movement and has made a significant name for herself in the world of design. Her work attracted the attention of many, in a time when entrepreneurial women had far greater challenges to face in their efforts to make a name for themselves.
“If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them.”
– Harry Bertoia
Harry Bertoia, born in Italy in 1915, designed a line of chairs that were the antithesis to the typical 1950’s style of rigid wood. His most famous collection of furniture were steel chairs comprised of welded wire which possessed a “springy” feel. Of these, the most well known was the Diamond Chair, which, as the name suggests, was shaped like a diamond. The highest point in the diamond forms the chair’s back support. Bertoia’s chairs were produced in 1952 by Knoll International, and they continue to produce them today.
Like fellow furniture designers, Eero Saarinen, Bertoia attended Cranbook Academy, and was exposed to the world of modern furniture. During his time at Cranbook, Bertoia won the Organic Furniture Design Competition sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art.