Meet the Mod Squad: Anne Dereaux

Get to know our Modernism Week 2023 Mod Squad, multidisciplinary designer Anne Dereaux.

Modernism Week is just around the corner, and we’re excited to welcome a new Mod Squad to take us behind the scenes of the ultimate celebration of midcentury architecture, design, culture, and more. Over the next few days, we’ll be introducing each member on Instagram.

Today’s Mod Squad is Anne Dereaux, founder of her eponymous multidisciplinary design studio, Dereaux Studio.

Born and raised in Nashville TN, Anne Dereaux’s path as a creator was set before she could walk. With parents who noticed her aptitude for the visual arts, they surrounded her with paint and canvases from an early age.  This interest in painting soon translated into 3 dimensional space, and she set her sights on architecture – moving to New Orleans to pursue undergraduate and master’s degrees in architecture between Tulane and Cornell University. 

Her final year at Tulane found her swept up in Hurricane Katrina, something that unwittingly set her career sights on residential design.  In her first job out of school, she worked in conjunction with Kronberg Wall Architects and the City of New Orleans to restore dozens of historical properties in disenfranchised districts of New Orleans, making them sustainable, accessible, and affordable – in perpetuity.  From there, she landed in Los Angeles, where her residential design journey continued.

Now with a decade in LA under her belt, she has started her own design studio, where she focuses on various scales of residential design – from multi-structure estates to quaint mid century renovations, in addition to home furniture and product design.  But the focus remains steadfast – pushing the envelope of design while honoring the tenets of historical architecture that have stood the test of time – warmth, light, and a real connection to nature and the human experience. 

Read on to see what “modernism” means to Anne.

AD: “When I think about modernism, I think about this being one of the first opportunities in history for women to have far reaching impact for their contributions in design. The Bauhaus, a school of modernist design thought in Germany, operated on the tenet that design, art and architecture were all interconnected, and proclaimed that the institution would be open to ‘any person of good repute, regardless of age or sex’.  While their intentions of equality were wildly progressive at the time, history took a different course.  Several male graduates went on to become design titans (Mies van der Rohe, Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius) but we are now uncovering the far reaching impact that many of the women graduates had as well. The school only lasted from 1919 to 1933, but its impact lives on.”

AD: “Born of the Bauhaus movement were two of modernism’s most impactful figures – Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and Lily Reicht – the latter of whom is finally beginning to get the public recognition she so rightfully deserves. Together they designed the Barcelona Pavilion for the 1929 World Fair, and she was responsible for some of the most recognizable modern furniture pieces still in production. (Pictured – the Barcelona chairs inside of the Barcelona Pavillion.)”

AD: “Another giant of modernist design thought is Florence Knoll.  Overcoming being orphaned at the age of 12, her close relationship with the Saarinen family opened doors for her to study architecture under an incredible roster of 20th century design talent, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  She married Hans Knoll in 1946, who was just starting a furniture company, and she brought in the talents of her friends to mass produce modern furniture staples we know and love today.  After the tragic death of her husband in 1955, she led the company as president until she retired in 1965 after completely revolutionizing the furniture industry and helping to define modern design as we know it.”

Follow Anne at @annedereaux for more design inspiration during Modernism Week 2023.

Images courtesy of Anne Dereaux.