Where do we begin…a Spanish woman in the male-dominated world of Italian design, Patricia Urquiola is currently one of the biggest names in the industry, and she’s also a total badass. After moving to Milan to study at the Polytechnique University, she found herself under the mentorship of some world-renowned designers such as Achille Castiglioni and the late Vico Magistretti.
“I feel more Milanese…but still absolutely connected to my Spanish roots.”
She eventually became head of Lissoni Associati Design Group but left in 2001 to open her own studio, breaking prejudices along the way. For Urquiola, the importance of executing a project is all about embracing the medium and enjoying the process. She emphasizes the “flow,” knowing that “the mood of the piece is what people catch.” She calls the evolution of her work “a long and beautiful dance,” priding herself on having no aesthetic, but rather characterizing herself on a strong sense of pattern, form, and material while never losing the human element. Her most famous designs include the ‘Bend’ sofa (B&B Italia), ‘Lariana’ bathtub (Agape), and ‘Maia’ armchair (Kettal) which was named “one of the most representative designs of our century” by Javier Mariscal at Bombay Sapphire.
“…Trying to create tools for living with a certain quality.”
In addition to working with countless manufacturers (B&B Italia, BMW, FLOS, Kettal, Moroso, Missoni, and Louis Vuitton…just to name a few), let us not forget Urquiola’s long list of architectural achievements. It includes luxury hotels, boutiques, restaurants, museums, design buildings, and private homes worldwide.
Though as if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, this past year she took over as the Art Director for Cassina, just in time to celebrate their 90th birthday. First order of business will be curating the company’s 90-year celebration program, and rebranding the New York showroom which gives us a lot to be excited for. It is on this creative platform that she designed the ‘Gender’ armchair which she describes as being made up of two masculine and feminine, independent shapes that create one form. She plays with its identity using different chromatic and material combinations, blurring the gender divide of design in more ways than one.
“It’s a great honor and a great responsibility to become part of the heritage, a history, an identity so important for international design.”
Oh, and did I mention she’s a wife and a mother of 2? Beyonce, step aside.