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Designing-Women’s Lives: Transforming Place and Self

Designing-Women’s Lives: Transforming Place and Self
by Toby Israel

Publication Date: April 2023
Format: Softcover
200 pages
Publisher: ORO Editions
Size: 8″ × 10”
ISBN: 978-1954081116
Typeset in Archivo and Times New Roman
Cover artwork by Toby Israel
Book design by Pablo Mandel

Designing-Women’s Lives calls for a place-making revolution based on women’s culturally nurtured “feeling” sensibility. Women too often have had to repress that sensibility in order to become designers. Now, rather than struggle to fit-in, women can break new ground by using Design Psychology as the foundation for creating emotionally satisfying place.

To encourage such a heart/mind shift, the author discusses how she took architecture Gold Medalist Denise Scott Brown and interior design legend Margo Grant Walsh through a series of Design Psychology exercises. The process revealed ways these renowned women unconsciously embedded their heroic struggles as minority females in their designs: Grant Walsh’s journey from her Chippewa childhood home with only one green couch to her plush NYC residence reflected her embrace of her Native American + designing-woman’s identity. Scott Brown grew up in a more privileged South African household, yet she translated the oppression she witnessed during Apartheid and the bias she experienced as a Jewish woman into the inclusive approach to architecture that made her famous.

Interweaving such designing-women’s stories, feminist design thinking and her personal vignettes, the author inspires readers to “design from within” their personal psychology as a form of personal liberation. Project case studies further demonstrate how Design Psychology helped women create a nurturing—even transformative—home during life-passages such as partnering or grieving. Such case studies provide inspiring examples of how color, shape, texture, space layout, and special objects can be catalysts for such personal evolution.