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Designing Women

A Textured Timeline

November 09, 2000|CONNIE KOENENN

Deborah Sussman chose to create the timeline for the "Women Designers in the USA" exhibit on gossamer polyester rather than a solid surface because "I wanted it to have a female presence--a feeling of motion and fabric."

The gauzy timeline, organized by decades, is suspended on clear plastic rods, appearing to float from the ceiling. The heat-transferred images on the sheer fabric include an illustration of each object in the exhibit along with text and highlights of the cultural and social conditions women designers faced in the 20th century.

"The timeline is two layers, and we went through an enormous amount of technological research to get the best quality of image digitally," said Sussman, one of the nation's leading environmental graphics designer. "Imagine taking a piece of gauze and trying to print a crisp image with captions you can read."

Working with staffers Jennifer Stoller and Ana Llorente-Thurik at Sussman/Prejza's loft studios in Culver City, she has juggled the "massive amounts of material" provided by project director Pat Kirkham into a vivid picture of a feminist century.

Sussman herself is represented in the exhibition by her firm's design for the cutting-edge graphics look of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics--the explosive aqua, orange and magenta triangles that became synonymous with the energy of the games.

Although Sussman/Prejza is known for major graphics projects around the world, from EuroDisney Corp. to South Coast Plaza, Sussman says the Bard timeline "sort of consumed us."

"It's one of our smallest projects and the kind that makes my year," she said. "I loved it!"

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