Innovative interiors specialist Little Wing Lee has been named the first winner of the new Female Design Council + NICOLEHOLLIS Grant recognizing Women of Color-led interior design firms located within the United States.
Lee is currently serving as the Atelier Ace/ Ace Hotel’s Design Director and is the founder of her own practice Studio & Projects as well as the industry group Black Folks in Design, which is dedicated to raising awareness of the myriad important contributions of Black designers to the field.
The $15,000 grant is meant to provide financing to expand companies and create new design collections. Winners also receive professional mentorship from the NICOLEHOLLIS team.
Lee is joined by honorees Anne Dereaux of Dereaux Studio, Florida Water Interiors Principle Interior Designer Chopp Stewart, independent designers Laura Casañas Maya and Teruko Kushi, and INDO’s Urvi Sharma. Each will be given a complimentary Female Design Council membership for a year with additional access to the organization’s Mentor Match program.
A former SOM and Ralph Appelbaum Associates staffer, Lee had previously worked on several Emmy and Oscar-nominated documentary projects following her graduation from the Pratt Institute’s Interior Design Master’s program in 2006. Her recent projects include the RAY and the National Black Theatre redevelopment in Harlem.
Speaking of the inaugural class and its future, Nicole Hollis said: “We envisioned [the grant] to encourage and support a brighter, and more equitable, future for design, and with the announcement of our first winner and honorees, we’ve begun. I’m so excited to see what our winner Little Wing and our honorees — Teruko, Urvi, Laura, Chopp, and Anne — do next.”
"The FDC is thrilled to support all womxn of color in design,” the organization’s founder Lora Appleton said in a statement. “We are fortunate to be able to provide financial support and mentorship to advance equity in design.”
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