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To celebrate Women’s History Month, every Friday in March we’ll be featuring women in the design world in our Friday Five column.

Photo courtesy of nanimarquina

To kick off Women’s History Month, we checked in with Spanish designer Nani Marquina who founded the innovative rug brand nanimarquina in 1987. Growing up, Nani was immersed in design having a father, Rafael Marquina, that was a celebrated Catalan designer himself, even winning an award for his 1961 oil cruet. That led to studying industrial design at the Escuela Massana in Barcelona where she fell in love with designing textiles and found success selling custom works. Looking to grow, Nani opened up shop, carefully seeking out the best raw materials and manufacturing processes out there for her rugs and textiles. Along the way, she brought in international designers, like Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Milton Glaser, Jaime Hayon, and Neri & Hu, to collaborate on unique collections, becoming the first textile designer to create the concept of designer rugs. Nani, as well as the brand, continues to produce visionary rugs and textiles that focus on shapes, colors, and textures that people instantly recognize as her designs. Read on to see what she chose to include in her Friday Five.

Photo by Albert Font

1. I’m in love with plants and flowers of all kinds. However, I have a weakness for cacti. In addition to being robust and durable, I am amazed at the structures and fractal compositions. Similar to pure geometry, the shape, the spines are systematically repeated in a beautiful way.

Photo by Albert Font

2. The most fascinating place I have ever been is the Sahara Desert. The silence is complete, connecting you to the origin of the earth, offering a special vitality. This immense landscape reminds us of how tiny we are, creating an incredible bond with nature.

“Inside Out” (2013) / Richard Serra Photo by Trevor Patt via Flickr

3. I was very impressed upon discovering the work of Richard Serra at the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Far from having a cold and distant relationship with the hard medium and the immense size of his sculptures, I was overwhelmed to see how his gentle curved forms made viewers feel comfortable.

Photo by Albert Font

4. Cooking is reinterpreted in a surprising way. Even the most traditional dishes of Catalan cuisine are transformed in the eye of the beholder, being unable to recognize even the most common ingredients.

Photo by Cartografies Paral·leles

5. I love collecting traditional necklaces that I buy in the remote places I visit. They are usually made of ethnic beads, natural materials, and organic forms. However, recently I discovered the contemporary jewelry of Xus Anglès, who invites you to reflect on the interaction of the pieces.

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