AT MÖBELDESIGNMUSEUM in Stockholm, Sweden
A historic exhibition highlighting women as creators of some of the most recognizable objects in the world of furniture.
The furniture collections at Möbeldesignmuseum (the Museum of Furniture Studies) currently showcase more than 350 designers, both Nordic and international. Sixty of them are women, which means that just 20% of the collections’ objects are designed by female designers. This is disappointing but also sadly representative of the reality in the design industry, both past, and present. Despite that Sweden has more graduated female furniture designers than male ones the statistics tell much the same story: 76% of Sweden’s professionally active furniture designers are men.
With the exhibition Female Traces, Möbeldesignmuseum (the Museum of Furniture Studies) wants to highlight women as creators of some of the most recognizable objects in the world of furniture, both past and present. Through this exhibition, the museum seeks to showcase the creativity, mastery, and strength that have been and are to be found among female designers.
Some have become lustrous stars in the international design scene. Others have chosen to work in inclusive design, which can make a difference for differently-abled users. In addition, there are examples of works in which advanced craftsmanship is the key element, or in which upcycling has given the product a distinctive value and meaning.
A seminar on Female Traces
As part of the exhibition Female Traces in 2019-2020, the Furniture Design Museum organized a seminar that addressed the imbalance of women in the design and furniture industry.
Despite female students making up a majority in design universities, only 20% of the museum's collection of over 350 designers were women. The exhibition brought attention to the issue, and sparked conversations and follow-up exhibitions in other museums.
Moderated by Kersti Sandin and Lars Bülow, the seminar featured presentations by 9 female speakers. They discussed topics such as power structures in the industry, the importance of inclusive design, and the challenges and opportunities for female designers in the global market.
The event's guest speakers where: Margot Barolo, Susanne Helgeson, Anya Sebton, Anna Holmquist, Ingrid Sommar, Jenny Fingal, Eva-Johanna Isestig, Monica Förster, Maria Westerberg.
Two of the seminar speakers, Swedish design journalists Ingrid Sommar and Susanne Helgeson, have separately highlighted the fact that despite the majority of today´s design students being women.