10 Women Designers to Watch in 2011

10 Women Designers to Watch in 2011

Sarah Coffey
Jan 4, 2011

The New York Times may have dubbed 2010 the year when furniture took a manly turn, but we noticed a lot of women coming out with great work — some new to us and some long-time designers who've made big breakthroughs. Here's hoping that the pendulum swinging into 2011 will push these 10 women further to the forefront of design.

  1. Jeanine Hays of AphroChic
    Apartment Therapy's been a fan of Jeanine Hays' "modern soulful style" blog for a long time, but this year she moved beyond tastemaking into actual making. Her new line of pillows, wallpaper, table linens, and organic shower curtains — the Brooklyn Renaissance Collection — launched in fall 2010 and has been sweeping design blogs and mags.
  2. Donna Wilson
    This British textile designer's been steadily gaining a following over the last few years, but 2010 gave her a big push onto the international stage. A British "Designer of the Year" Award, a show at Brooklyn's cutting-edge store the Future Perfect, and a big profile in the Guardian are all signs that this strong talent will continue to garner much-deserved recognition in the coming year.
  3. Camilla Meijer
    A Swedish designer living in London, Camilla Meijer's super-saturated wallpaper won "Best British Pattern" at the 2010 British Design Awards, while write-ups in Elle Decor and on Apartment Therapy raised her profile.
  4. Esther Horchner
    We spotted this illustrator/designer's Naked Girls Teapot ($56) at the Future Perfect, which led us to her site and Flickr page, where you can see these smart, funny pieces in action. Although there's very little out there now, apart from a couple of items at SCP and TFP, we predict more interesting, offbeat work from Horchner.
  5. Katja Behre of Elli Popp
    In 2010, British wallpaper designer Katja Behre found US distribution for her brand, Elli Popp. She appeared at ICFF in New York and 100 Percent Design in London, while her work made its way through the blogosphere. Already available through Hygge and West and the Future Perfect, her Psychedelic-Victorian style is unique, memorable, and we predict we'll see it in more stores this year.
  6. Wieki Somers
    Her Grasshopper Chair and Table caused a stir when Maxwell blogged them as a Daily Find, while Sarah Rainwater caught her boat-shaped bathtub at the Victoria & Albert Museum. With other pieces in the collections of MoMA and the Pompidou, this Dutch designer is an established talent, but her work keeps getting better, and we expect to see more of her in 2011.
  7. Lindsay Alker
    She started out in the fashion industry and now creates hand-silkcreened and linoblocked prints on Irish linen. Janel Laban included her 2010 collection in the best wallpaper from ICFF, and Remodelista recently spotted her line of pillows at the John Derian store in New York City.
  8. Kristin Wentrcek of Wintercheck
    Apartment Therapy wrote up Brooklyn-based furniture and lifestyle shop Wintercheck Factory last spring. Since then, designer Kristin Wentrcek has refined her line of functional, flexible pieces. She's partnered with Against the Grain, a woman-owned millwork shop in Pomona, California, and she's been able to scale prototypes into larger production runs while lowering prices on her furniture.
  9. Emily Henderson
    The winner of HGTV's 2010 Design Star now has her own show — Secrets From A Stylist. When Emily's home appeared on Apartment Therapy, her refreshing vintage/modern style (which she describes as "weird, eclectic and modern, but loose and casual") earned big pageviews.
  10. Margriet Foolen
    A Dutch designer who's worked for Royal VKB and Droog, Margriet Foolen created a contemporary Slow Cooker from two interlocking bowls. Combining forms from Moroccan tagines, Dutch ovens, and contemporary sculpture, the Slow Cooker won the prestigious Red Dot Award and Wallpaper's 2010 Design Award. At just 28 years old, Foolen's already amassed an impressive collection of smartly designed dinnerware, gifts, and furniture.

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