Women continue to face difficulties when it comes to reaching management positions and positions of great responsibility. However, we are finding more and more cases in our society of women with this leadership and management capacity. Intelligent women who have a high organisational and management capacity, who are independent, courageous and decisive, as is the case of today’s three protagonists, whose femininity brings added value to these positions of responsibility and power.
Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) in Suits, the lawyer series set in New York City, although most of the scenes were shot in Toronto, and available on Netflix.
Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) in the series, also about lawyers, The Good Fight and its predecessor The Good Wife, both set in Chicago but filmed in New York City. The former is available on Amazon Prime and the latter on Movistar +.
And finally, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), in the film The Devil Wears Prada (David Frankel, 2006) also on Amazon Prime. The latter is the only one of the four films that was shot entirely in New York, except for the final part in Paris.
They have the necessary sensitivity to choose the furniture, the decoration, the wardrobe, to create a good working environment in which more and better performance is achieved. They are fair when it comes to solving problems in their team, capable of detecting and valuing talent, even if it is not embodied in conventional people. Their relationships with other women, whether they are friends or colleagues, are always equal, seeking complicity and promoting those who come after them, avoiding hostility or envy.
Bearing in mind that the place where we do our work is very important, we have to be aware that the management of a good space requires a good space design, to optimise the dimensions, to create small or large spaces that allow the worker’s mobility and give them the option of having a place to share with their colleagues, to meet in private, or to be alone.
Nowadays, new workspaces have an increasingly non-traditional aesthetic in which natural light and views play a key role. A good example of this are the offices where Jessica Pearson, Diane Lockhart and Miranda Priestly work, all of them with large windows that favour the entry of natural light and offer fantastic views. It is true that this depends largely on the location of our office and the number and arrangement of the windows, something that is often difficult to achieve, but we must try.
Jessica Pearson’s office is a real glass box, as the partition wall that separates her office from the rest of the firm’s rooms is a huge tempered glass that runs lengthwise through the space. The only solid walls that exist are the ones that separate her from the rest of the office and they are painted in a bluish green colour.
In the case of Diane Lockhart, in The Good Wife, her office is delimited with modern partitions that combine part glazed and part blind in wood. In The Good Fight, the access doors to the office are similar, but lacquered in white, and there is a change in that the traditional framed glass partitions are replaced by huge floor-to-ceiling tempered glass panes, as in Suits.
The same is true of Miranda Priestly’s offices, which are more similar to those of Suits, as they maintain that access to all the offices is through glass doors. However, there is a slight difference: while in The Devil Wears Prada all the walls of the corridors and common areas are painted white, in Suits the wall coverings are made of wood panels.
Another element that is also essential and contributes to the creation of harmonious and friendly spaces is the furniture and decorative objects. The desk in Jessica Pearson’s office differs from its companions in that it is the only one made of solid wood, both its side legs (two inverted “U”) and the tabletop, which is supported by black steel plates. The central part of the tabletop is in black leather, in combination with the supports. A robust table, with a marked presence in the office, very well supported by the handle-free wooden lower units, which, situated below the windows, run longitudinally along the front, framing the entire space as a symbol of authority and leadership. His chair, one of the Eames models for the office, is also made of wood and leather, but in white to sweeten the space and make it more feminine and welcoming.
Continuing in this line, to visually lighten the space in the face of so much wood, but without losing a touch of sophistication, he uses an imposing three-seater sofa in cream with cushions printed with floral motifs and a plaid over them, in a grey tone in harmony with two straight-lined, cube-shaped armchairs in anthracite grey with cushions in two different shades. To integrate these pieces, more typical of a living room, he uses three side tables in tempered glass and polished stainless steel legs. On two of them, placed next to the sofa, rest two imposing lamps with rectangular lampshades in cream, V-shaped steel feet and a black marble base, and a third rectangular one in the centre, with a fruit bowl with green Schmidt apples.
The whole ensemble combines perfectly with the meeting table with central support located in the background, completely in white surrounded by six aluminium and white leather office chairs with swivel legs, in the series for the Eames office.
Diane Lockhart’s office décor has much more in common with Jessica Pearson in terms of space management and the decorative line discussed at the beginning where the workspace has a certain residential feel to it. However, in terms of furniture, it coincides in some ways with Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep).
For example, both opt for a glass desk with stainless steel legs, in Diane’s case, and white lacquered legs in Miranda’s. Both are materials of great durability and beauty, characterised by simple, well-defined lines, with no frills, which add elegance and authority. Her executive chairs are also made of leather, like Jessica’s, but in a different colour. In Diane’s case, the chosen shade is maroon, in The Good Wife. She would later change to a grey upholstered chair with stainless steel arms. In Miranda’s case, black was chosen. Miranda’s was designed by Fabricius & Kastholm and manufactured by Kill International in 1970.
The three of them are used as small lounge chairs or decorative armchairs, avoiding the classic basic office chairs, to soften and make more welcoming the moment when you sit in front of your boss.
Jessica’s are a classic cut with a half-circumference shape in wood and upholstered in light brown. Diane’s, in the first seasons of The Good Wife, are the Cara model, with a high back in red leather and later replaced by ones upholstered with a geometric pattern in bone colour, a contemporary version of the chairs known as barrel, inspired by a Scandinavian design from the late 1960s. Both models belong to the firm Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.
And at The Good Fight I’d switch to ecru upholstered ones with stainless steel arms to match the desk. Miranda’s are less cosy, lighter and a bit cooler, like her: black leather and stainless steel legs.
Both Jessica and Diane use wooden or grey base units for storage and organisation of files and cases. But Diane combines them as classic furniture, a sideboard combining walnut wood with black and a Japanese chest of drawers or a glass and bronze-legged hall cabinet. While Miranda only uses a simple wooden table with drawers.
The colourful rugs in warm colours also play a very important role in the decoration of your spaces because they frame the work and relaxation areas, bring warmth to the whole, balance and complement the reds, greys, greenish blues… Everything is elegant, sober and tidy.
We must not forget the artificial light, the ideal complement if we don’t need to light the whole office, just the essential. Note the two large table lamps with glass shafts with black lampshades and in others with beige shades, located on the sideboard just behind Diane’s desk.
The decorative objects in the offices of all of them, depending on their personality and age, also play a very important role, but we find similarities and differences considering that the film was released in 2006, the first season of The Good Wife in 2009, the first season of Suits in 2011 and The Good Fight in 2017. We could say that Miranda’s office is the most contemporary, Diane’s the most elegant and sober (especially in The Good Fight, because of its colour palette) and Jessica’s the most sophisticated. Jessica and Diane seem to be more interested in art. The former has three paintings on one of her walls in a powerful red colour, and the latter has a disturbing painting Girl with peony by the American artist Andy Zig, which appears in The Good Fight.
Miranda opts for a magnificent composition of pictures in which a mirror stands out because it is not common to find mirrors in an office, they are objects more typical of a hall or living room, however, in her office it gives a touch of class and distinction.
Another decorative element is contemporary, classic or professional books: they make a good impression and, without meaning to, they speak a little about your style and personality. As for family, professional or award-winning photographs, all three have some, but little else. The vases that appear in the offices of all three, usually combined with flowers, give a natural touch that enhances the beauty of the place and brings warmth, highlighting the feminine presence in the office.
White roses, calla lilies or orchids are perfect for minimalist spaces, because they soften the space without stealing the attention from the main piece. But it is also possible to see them empty, as in The Good Wife, or to replace the flowers with a more colourful floral arrangement, as Jessica does in some seasons. And objects as varied as a wall clock, an hourglass, some statuettes…
Special mention should be made of the wardrobe, especially that of Jessica and Diane, both of whom work in a more masculine environment. Both opt for dresses, pencil skirts and fitted jackets, monochromatic, in bright, shiny, silver and neutral colours. They also wear feline, geometric and even extravagant prints with impossible or impractical sleeves, like those of some of the models worn by Jessica Pearson. The blouses are adorned at the neck with bows, they wear high heels and fur stoles. Their looks are anything but casual and both have a penchant for XXL jewellery, oversized earrings and stand-out necklaces that add a touch of elegance and power.