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To celebrate Women’s Day this year, we remember some of the design world’s most inspiring female minds. Some of them had to fight against tradition and convention while others have carved out their own niche in the field. Architecture and design were traditionally always considered a man’s domain, like so many other spheres of life. However, women have risen through the ranks to garner huge followings and have developed their own unique styles and schools of thought. We look at four female architects and interior designers who have made history and keep inspiring upcoming generations.
Louise Blanchard Bethune
Born in 1856, Louise Bethune was the first American female architect and was a staunch believer in equality for men and women. She worked with her husband at their firm Bethune, Bethune & Fuchs with her projects mainly situated in the state of New York. Her notable works include the Hotel Lafayette and the Buffalo Meter Company Building. An elected member of the Western Association of Architects, she also became the first woman to join the American Institute of Architects. Although most of her work has since been demolished, Bethune was always a supporter of women’s rights and by the time she passed away in 1908, there were at least 50 other women in the country working as architects.


 Louise Blanchard Bethune

Louise Blanchard Bethune

Lafayette hotel new york

Lafayette Hotel, New York

 Zaha Hadid
You cannot talk about women in design without honouring Zaha Hadid. She was described in The Guardian as the 'Queen of the Curve' and we couldn’t agree more. An Iraqi-British national, Hadid was the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize and went on to be made a Dame by Elizabeth II. A year before her passing in 2015 she also became the first woman to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Her work was iconic with a list of buildings like the London Aquatics Centre, Broad Art Museum in Michigan, the Galaxy SOHO in Beijing, the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku and the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar. Widely believed to be the world’s foremost female architect, Hadid’s extravagant designs have garnered an equal number of fans and naysayers, which just shows what a strong impact she made.


Zaha hadid

Zaha Hadid

The Galaxy Soho Beijing
The Galaxy Soho, Beijing

India Mahdavi
When you think of India Mahdavi’s designs, your face immediately lights up. Her use of colour, texture, and proportion has been applauded around the world. She believes that colour is the best way to bring sunshine into her work. Mahdavi has worked on several incredible projects with the Instagram sensation, the gallery at Sketch in London, being extremely notable for her use of
millennial pink. This room has become famous globally for its eye-catching hue and feel. Mahdavi has a cosmopolitan background of Iranian and Egyptian heritage and grew up all over the world. Her work is modern, inspired, abstract and decorative adding a touch of much-needed happiness and playfulness.


 India mahdavi
India Mahdavi

The sketch gallery london
The Sketch Gallery, London

Brinda Somaya
Brinda Somaya is more than just an architect. She is passionate about urban conservation and all her work connects the environment to design in unique ways. In 2014, she was awarded the Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal from the Indian Institute of Architects and has been named an Andrew Dickinson White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. Her works span industries with notable buildings like the TCS House in Mumbai, Goa Institute of Management and Nalanda International School in Vadodara. Through her work, she manages to blend open spaces, social equity, and conservation in a way that makes it both beautiful and significant.

Brinda somaya
Brinda Somaya

TCS house mumbai
The TCS House, Mumbai

Happy Women's Day from all of us at Discern Living!

Which female interior designer or architect inspire you personally? Do write to us at interiors@discernliving.com.


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