Storming into the field of big names in architecture and interior design, Spanish born designer, Patricia Urquiola, decided her vocation in life at age 12.
“At that young age, I liked the idea of creative work with rigor”, she says.
Patricia Urquiola has certainly applied herself with rigor in the modern design world, and in her own words, was ‘professionally re-born’ in Italy where she is now based. Virtually unknown in Spain, she has crafted a substantial career in Milan working with key figures in the Milanese design fraternity including Magistretti and Castiglioni, who helped blossom her talent.
Attending the Faculty of architecture in Madrid, and graduating from the Milan Polytechnic in 1989, Patricia worked with De Padova, Alessi, Antares-Flos, Artelano, Boffi, Cappellini, Cassina and Kartell during the 1990’s, and has designed for B&B, Bosa, De Vecchi, Fasem, Kartell, Liv’it, MDF Italia, Molteni & C.,
Moroso and Tronconi. Now working from her own studios in Milan, Patricia is a very active designer and mother of two girls.
Her style is flowing, in that it is ever changing. Her strength is her ability to build long personal relationships with her clients and continuous communication.
“I’m interested in behavior structures, artisan techniques, certain aspects of memory... aspects of my life”, she says. “Every project needs a very long dialogue with the client. They can sometimes last up to two years and even overlap. I would describe it as a long and beautiful dance.”
Her numerous works include an array of spectacular modern furniture, lighting and household products to the interior of a Shanghai nightclub.
Comfort is a continuous theme in the work of Patricia Urquiola. Sofa designs such as ‘Tufty-Time’ and ‘Fat-Fat’ (B&B Italia), are both informal yet modular in
design and alluring yet practical in nature. The Fat-Fat is a table, container and ottoman in one, which can be used to sit on, place objects on or for storage.
Patricia’s elegant upholstered furniture draws the viewer to want to ‘touch’ and ‘stroke’, such that her designs have been described as ‘intimate’.
This is certainly true of the “Antibody”. A lounge chair / chaise longue shape, with extraordinary padded petals sewn in triangular shapes. Using reversible materials, two sides of kaleidoscopic patchwork create two completely different chairs; one feminine and unconventional, the reverse side more striking and severe.
Her sofas Step and Lowland were selected for the International Design Yearbook 1999/2000, Lowseat waschosen to represent Italian design in the Furniture Design Tour 2001. Perhaps her longest selling and a personal favorite design is the Fjord collection for Moroso. The extensive collection of seating include the Relax armchair, with soft supporting comfort,
adapting to the body. The stools, small armchairs and pouffes are objects of effective daily use, however, they maintain the feature of comfort and can be used in any public area.
As with most of her work, Fjord is straightforward and extremely easy to reproduce. This innate understanding of the design process, honed from years of experience working in a country synonymous with manufacturing and industry, sets Urquiola’s work apart.
“You need not to be overly complex. You need to be essential,” says Patricia.
Her practical nature is attributed to her feminine personality in a field dominated by men. She believes that her “feminine side” can be a distinct advantage. She says that a contemporary woman’s ability to juggle many roles, from professional designer to mother for example, can be an enormous advantage.
Patricia explains, “A flexible approach, something which is very useful for a designer”.
Recent works include a complete table collection for Danish porcelain company Rosendahl, taps for German company Hans Groe, an installation for Italian glass mosaic company Bisazza, an architectural competition for a major ice cream manufacturer, a new store for B&B in Spain and a villa for friends.
Patricia has taken part in the editions of Abitare il Tempo in 1998, 1999 and 2000 creating (in succession)Crystal Vases, an armchair and Pouf, and Stone Sofa System and among other modern furniture pieces.
In 2001 she was on the jury for the 19th cDim Design Award and contributed as lecturer at the Domus Academy "Designing Exhibition" course.
Patricia’s success has certainly rocketed, as she takes the stage alongside the likes of Hella Jongerius, considered the world’s leading female designer.
“I had a slow start to my career, I spent a lot of years studying and I wouldn’t recommend this to anybody. Be very passionate and curious!” says Patricia