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Elite Traveler has gathered a list of inspirational and pioneering women in the field of luxury design.
By Sophie Killip | February 26 2021
A focal point in the women’s rights movement and celebrated around the world, International Women’s Day takes place on March 8 every year. In honor of the occasion, Elite Traveler has gathered a list of inspirational and pioneering women in the field of luxury design. Challenging inequalities and inspiring others, these creatives range from top studio designers, business owners and mentors for future generations – and they are all women in design that you should know.
Co-founder and director of London-based design studio Goddard Littlefair, Jo Littlefair is no stranger to luxury design. Her award-winning studio works internationally and across multiple industries, with previous projects including hotels, restaurants, spas and private residences. For each of the studio’s projects, Littlefair brings inspiration from her travels and shares her passions for new experiences. She has a specific focus on attention to detail and confirming that a finished space connects with the original concept.
Recently, Littlefair has become a mentor through the WIHTL (Women in Hotel, Travel and Leisure) scheme, which links women from various sectors of the hospitality industry to open doors for the next generation of women in leadership roles. Littlefair also ensures that responsible design stays at the forefront of any project, commenting: “We are pushing for greener and more sustainable ways to design, from materiality to design style combined with cleaner lines of design.”
Illustrator Charlotte O’Reilly has been going from strength to strength since she graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in London. The London-based artist started a career as a freelance designer, working for a number of recognizable brands such as Universal Record Label and Topshop. In 2015, she launched her own company, Charlotte Jade, which specializes in hand-drawn digital prints and patterns for both interiors and fashion.
Inspired by the animal kingdom, O’Reilly’s designs for Charlotte Jade focus on biophilic design – combining nature with design – and “bringing the beautiful outside world in” in an effort to create a sense of well-being in the spaces they are used. As a result, O’Reilly has worked with major interior clients including Scott Brownrigg, Rockwell Group and Richmond International. Despite being a young company, Charlotte Jade designs can be seen all over the world – making this brand, and O’Reilly, certainly one to watch.
Now the group development and design director for luxury hotel and private-rental brand Ultima Collection, Chloé Roussel used her previous work in the hospitality industry to forge a career in design. She started working in design and construction with Hôtel Thoumieux, becoming the point of contact for the hotel’s owner and the interior designers while the hotel underwent its renovation; the position gave her the unique opportunity to work alongside renowned architect India Mahdavi.
Roussel joined Ultima Collection at the beginning of the brand’s conception, managing the operational aside and supporting the design of the company’s first project: Ultima Gstaad. One of the latest projects that Roussel helmed was Ultima Geneva Grand Villa; as the lead of design, Roussel chose a modern look for the project with a cool, neutral color palette. The property also benefits from a Minergie label, which is a registered quality standard for new (or refurbished) buildings in Switzerland and Liechtenstein that have low energy consumption.
New York-based Elisabeth Rogoff has a long history of working in design, with almost two decades of experience under her belt and a collection of extraordinary projects. Previously, she has worked on a range of high-end residential and hospitality projects with international architecture firms such as Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Selldorf Architects. However, since joining Champalimaud Design in 2006, Rogoff has risen to become a principal at the studio, playing a critical role at every stage of a project’s design.
Rogoff is involved in everything from helping clients visualize their concept to executing a project’s final stages, making sure Champalimaud Design’s distinctive aesthetic is embedded in the scheme. Projects she has worked on include Monkey Island Estate in the UK and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. She also says that, as a studio, Champalimaud Design tries to “implement sustainable practices on projects. We work with local artisans and craftsmen local not only to reduce excess carbon footprint but also to celebrate their expertise.”
Known as both a design curator and a design coach, Anne-Laure Pingreoun takes a hands-on role with each of the projects she works on. Unusually, Pingreoun started her career in marketing and design. For almost 15 years, she worked with top creative agencies in France, London and New York, which gave her a unique perspective on design and art and allowed her to oversee brand collaborations with artists and other creative practitioners.
Leaving marketing behind her, five years ago Pingreoun founded Alter-Projects, a company that curates projects that build stores and experiences for brands, designers and property developers. Her company’s projects have included a mural on a seven-story building and an installation made out of recycled materials in the center of Times Square. She is also the founder of Alternative-Thinkers, an online platform for creative practitioners to share their ideas and connect with funding opportunities.
With an extensive background as an art gallery owner and collector, Suzanne Mathews is now the director of Texas-based lighting company, Lucifer Lighting. Based in a Gensler-designed office and factory near downtown San Antonio, Lucifer Lighting is an innovative lighting product company that has previously worked with some of the industry’s most renowned architects, including Snøhetta, Foster & Partners and Olson Kundig.
Founded in 1980 and family-owned to this day, Lucifer Lighting has also been behind the illumination of some extraordinary architectural projects including the Natural History Museum in London and the Statue of Liberty. As director of Lucifer Lighting, Mathews is heavily involved in the business, informing its work with her passion for art and design. She also serves on the Board of Lotusland (a non-profit botanical garden near Santa Barbara) and the Brackenridge Park Conservancy.