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Designer Highlight

BHM Highlight # 3 | 5 More Black Designers To Celebrate This Month

We've gathered 5 more influential designers & visionaries across industries to take a look at - enjoy this continued journey of celebration & education!


In recognition of Black History Month (during February and beyond), let us take a moment to celebrate and educate ourselves on the incredible legacy of some Black designers, creatives, voices, and taste-makers in our industry.

From industrial designers, to artists, architects, interior designers, and furniture craftspeople, these incredible innovators have advanced our culture and society in profound ways. All month we'll be highlighting their stories, their struggles, their triumphs, and their unparalleled contributions.

Follow up next week for our final piece on influential Black designers & creatives!

Pictured: Pascale Sablan

Pascale Sablan

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Pascale earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute and her Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.

With a passion for community-based design, she has worked on a wide range of projects that seek to create inclusive, equitable spaces that serve the needs of diverse communities.

As the 315th living African-American, woman registered architect in the U.S., Sablan is also a committed advocate for diversity and inclusion in architecture. She founded the Beyond the Built Environment initiative, which seeks to promote and elevate the contributions of underrepresented groups in the field.

She has been recognized for her leadership and advocacy with numerous awards, including the AIA Young Architects Award, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Prize, and the Pratt Institute Trailblazer Award.
Learn More About Pascale
Pictured: Robert R. Taylor

Robert Robinson Taylor

Robert R. Taylor (1868-1942) was a man of many firsts. He was the first Black graduate of MIT, and the first accredited Black Architect in the US. He did some other work as an architect, but spent most of his career acting as a professor and architect at Tuskegee.

He designed many of Tuskegee's buildings including the original Butler Chapel, Rockefeller Hall, and Carnegie Library Building. His mindset was similar to that of other Black influencers of the time, including Tuskegee's founder Booker T. Washington.

He chose to remain at Tuskegee so that he "could be of more service to the race in helping to develop this institution in its industrial side than in other places.” Both Taylor's designs and teaching are the true definition of legacy, impacting generations of students and the architectural community at large.
Learn More About Robert
Pictured: Nicole White

Nicole White

Nicole White is the President and Principal Designer of Nicole White Designs – a full-service boutique interior design and event planning company, dedicated to transforming the spaces and lives of clients. Nicole and her team are dedicated to transforming the spaces and lives of our clients’ homes and businesses.

Before launching her successful design firm, Nicole was an award-winning journalist whose stories appeared in The Miami Herald, Village Voice and Vibe magazine.

A Jamaican native, Nicole is deeply inspired by the bold colors and textures of the Caribbean, and constantly fuses those elements throughout her designs. Nicole currently sits on the advisory board of Houzz, the leading design site for homeowners and design enthusiasts and is also a contributing writer for Houzz.
Learn More About Nicole
Pictured: The Cotton Club; One of Brown's more famous interiors he designed throughout his career. The club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, including Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and Billie Holiday!

Harold Curtis Brown

Despite his considerable accomplishments, very little is known about Harold Curtis Brown’s life or his work - but his enduring legacy lives on as the interior designer of some of the most iconic Harlem Renaissance-era nightclubs, like the Cotton Club (before it moved to Times Square), Tilly’s, and the Saratoga Club.

Brown’s ‘disappearing act’ (no record has been found of his work past 1938) has been attributed to his,”…pass[ing] as white so he could make more money, which has made it difficult to connect him to any work after the late 1930s…” (https://www.veranda.com/home-decorators/a32908584/black-designers-who-shaped-america/).

A trailblazer in his own right, Brown was one of the few gay and African American designers working in the early 20th century interiors industry in NYC. Brown’s designs were celebrated for their unique blend of traditional and modern elements, altogether creating the lush backdrops of the Prohibition Era’s swankiest nightlife & hospitality spots.
Learn More About Harold
Pictured: Derrick Beard

Derrick Joshua Beard

Pop Artist Derrick Joshua Beard is considered the pre-eminent collector of 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century African American decorative arts, photography, rare books, unique documents, and other objects of aesthetic and historic interest.

Born in Chicago in 1958 to a family rich in creative achievements and artistic traditions, Beard is a descendant of free Blacks who worked as artisans in Alabama many decades before emancipation. He demonstrated exceptional intelligence and artistic talent at a young age and was placed in his school’s program for gifted children. He studied art history and basic art techniques at the Art Institute of Chicago and was later awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan where he broadened his fine arts foundation and gained additional skills in a broad range of media.

In addition to creating and collecting fine arts, Beard also started up a construction and real estate firm in New Orleans Louisiana where he purchased and renovated buildings with historic value that continued to spark his deep interest in Black history and culture.
Learn More about Derrick