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Urquiola’s work is widely known to be playful and poetic, yet pragmatic and functional, a creative combination that is the magic behind her work. She comes and goes through conventional time – rethinking, reinventing, and creating new. The effect is a powerful reminder of the past and exploration into the now, always creating a new experience for the user.
Her design is clean and she creates pretty and unique pieces. She stands out for the original designs of objects and furniture that she produces for the best and most important international firms. The designer of some of the most emblematic pieces in the current range, she created the Maia collection, one of her most characteristic works. For Kettal she won the Architecture Design Award 2008.
“The piece I identify with the most is the Relax armchair. I like finding the most suitable material for each project. Working on technologically developed materials using craft techniques, or using an industrial process on a material from the past.”
Patricia Urquiola was born in Oviedo (Spain) in 1961, she lives and works in Milan. She attended the school of architecture of Madrid Polytechnic and Milan Polytechnic, where she graduated in 1989 with achille castiglioni, from 1990 to 1992 she was assistant lecturer to both Achille Castiglioni and Eugenio Bettinelli in Milan and Paris. From 1990 to 1996, she was responsible for the new product development office of depadova, working with Vico Magistretti in 1996 she became head of Lissoni Associati’s Design Group. In 2001 she opens her own studio working on product design, architecture, installations, amongst her last projects of architecture are: Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona and W Retreat&Spa a Vieques (Puerto Rico); a villa in udine; scenography of the opera “L’incoronazione Di Poppea” by Monteverdi; showroom and installations for Hermès, Gianvito rossi, Flos, Moroso, H&M and the general Concept of Pitti Immagine Firenze, she designs for the most important italian and international firms as Agape, Alessi, Axor, B&B Italia, Bart Design, Bisazza, BMW, Bosa, Budri, Chevalier Edition, Il Coccio, de Padova, de Vecchi, Emu, Fasem, Salvatore Ferragamo, Flos, Foscarini, Glas italia, Kartell, Kvadrat, Mixing Media, Maurice Lacroix, Liv’it, Peter Mabeo, Moroso, Mutina, Olivari, Panasonic, Paola Lenti, Rosenthal, Champagne Ruinart, San Lorenzo, Tronconi, and she also works as a consultant for Honda and LG.
Some of her products are exposed in the permanent collection of Moma in New York and other international museums. Urquiola has won several international prices and awards, amongst others the medalla de oro al mérito en las Bellas Artes 2010 awarded by the Spanish government (2011) and the A&W magazine nomination as designer of the year 2012.
She was awarded as Designer of the Year for the magazines Wallpaper, Elle Decor, and Designer of the Decennium 2000-2010 for the German magazines Home and Häuser. Among others, she received the Red Dot Award and the Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Awards. Personal exhibitions of her work have been shown all over the world.
Background & Realizations: the projects
Italian brand Boffi has a modular kitchen system by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola at its Chelsea showroom during London Design Festival 2015.
Objets Nomades swing chair – Patricia Urquiola for Louis Vuitton – Made from nylon rope and complemented with leather cushions, the project definitely has a unique appearance.
Butterfly (for B&B Italia) gets its name from the “butterfly” shape created by the outer corner that joins the armrest and the backrest. it is a modular seating system that responds effectively to the needs of modularity and comfort, suitable for free and informal usage. its modular structure is shaped around an ottoman, which is the base piece, and when it is integrated with the backrest and/or the armrest, it becomes a central or terminal element, either left or right. the combination of these elements, using a simple joint system, makes it possible to freely set up versatile configurations, from on-line sofas to corner solutions, from front-facing to lounge layouts. This first textile sofa in b&b italia outdoor collection is characterised by soft and sinuous shapes.
Lariana (for Agape) is a compact bathtub of reduced dimension. This feature, combined with double wrapping, gives lightness to the solid structure and accentuates the linear form of this modern product. The bathtub is made of white Cristal plant.
Patricia Urquiola, always interested in local cultural background as lymph for her projects, rediscovers in views of the Komyo-in temple of Kyoto, new perspective filters able to guarantee through modern re-elaborations contemporary effects that concern the relation between interior and exterior. Thus was born a graphic wall 7m high made of local cedar as a filter between interior space and the rising sun. The result is a perfect fusion of Japanese traditional high-end style and Italian design.
The Panerai boutique is situated in the heart of the Miami Design District, an area of the city which has recently been transformed into an exclusive luxury shopping destination. The interior design reflects a functional and simple idea of design that respects tradition by creating looks that are modern and current, finding an appropriate link between the past and the future. One of the most distinctive elements of the boutique is the custom chandelier: a suspended series of disks, rings and lamps. The second floor has been deliberately designed as a private area for exclusive collectors and an exhibition space to host works by contemporary artists and designers as well.
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It was a challenge to create a dialogue between an emblematic icon like the Basilica Palladiana and a reinterpretation of how jewellery, the real star of the show, is represented. It’s a symbolic path between containers and casings, from the marble loggias with their Palladian windows, to the museum rooms, the display cases and booths, and right down to the jewellery.
Patricia Urquiola Awards
– Order of Isabella the Catholic, Awarded by His Majesty The King of Spain Juan Carlos I, Spain.
– Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes (Gold Medal of Fine Arts), Awarded by His Majesty the King of Spain Juan Carlos I, Madrid, Spain.
– Inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame, Awarded by Cindy Allen and Interior Design Magazine.
– Steelcase 100 Minds from around the world, USA.
– A&W Architektur und Wohnen ‘Designer of the Year’, Germany.
– IMM Cologne, Best of Best of the Interior Innovation Award, Husk Chair by B&B Italia
– European Health & Spa Award, No. 1 in Best Hotel Spa for the Mandarin Hotel Oriental, Barcelona, Spain
– Elle Decor International Design Awardsfor the outdoor furniture Category, Collection Cottage by Kettal
– iF Design Award Gold in the furniture category with lounge collection Hosu for Coalesse.
– Wallpaper Magazine Design Awards, Best trend, Azulejo tiles by Mutina.
– Milan Design Award, Best installation “The Revolving Room” for Kvadrat at Moroso Showroom during Milan Design Week
– Australian International Design Award, Furniture and Lighting category. Hosu, Coalesse (Steelcase)
– Red Dot Design Award, Hosu, Coalesse (Steelcase)
– 100 Españoles, for one of the 100 most important Spanish people being recognized in her professional activities
– Premio Marisa Bellisario for the “Most significant woman” who has achieved great and important goals and who represents the hope and future of our economy and also is the best ambassador of Italy in the world, Rome
– Elle Decor International Design Awards for Husk Bed by B&B Italia
– Red Dot Award for CAST Built-in Oven by Arçelik A.S
– iF Design Award Gold for CAST Built-inn Oven by Arçelik A.S
– Gold Award for Systems for the Openest collection by Haworth, Chicago
– Best of NeoCon Competition for the Openest collection by Haworth, Chicago
“I think time is a constraint to destroy and then reinvent. If you give me a constraint, I’ll accept it. But I always try to move it around, or to readapt it. Ecco! If you lock me in a room, well I’ll go out through the window! I always remember Achille Castiglioni, one of my mentors, and he always said that in industrial design you have the idea, the fantasy, the concepts – that’s the marmalade! – but the constraint of the brief is the bread. You need both in order to find structure for your ideas.”
“I always think that the project I’m working on will be the best.”
“I can think in hours, or even minutes. There is no such thing as losing time—it’s all valuable.”
Top Projects Gallery