Born 1961, Spain
Practises in Milan
Studied Architecture at Madrid Polytechnic and Milan Polytechnic.
Patricia Urquiola’s designs inspire and ignite something in everyone – be it through colour, patterns or material. Her work is unapologetically eclectic, feminine and reflects her individualism.
Urquiola was born in Spain but has chosen to make Italy her home and she considers herself “100%” both. Her parents encouraged her to explore, saying “Spain is little. Move! Learn languages, get out of your comfort zone”. She believes that this made for a quicker revolution of her personality and gave her the confidence to experiment.
Whilst studying in Milan, she was mentored by some of the masters of Italian industrial design: Achille Castiglioni and Vico Magistretti. They taught her “to value the tools for living” and she spent over a decade lecturing at universities and collaborating with other designers before opening her own studio in Milan in 2001. She values these years, “I first learnt the technical side of design and then learned how to present myself and to relate to clients in a different way. By the time I opened my own studio, I was known as a serious person who liked to work hard”.
Creativity and innovation have always been inherent in Urquiola and she describes herself as having been a curious child, constantly trying to understand things by opening them and taking them apart. This curiosity is reflected in her designs, which are creations for the senses – a reflection of her own eclectic taste. Her inspiration “comes from everything and from any place, street, city, people or object. I like to observe everything around me, that’s my greatest source of inspiration”.
She cites her architect training as being essential to her design ethos, with her studio working concurrently on architecture and design projects across the globe. “I think one profession feeds the other one, and that’s a good thing”. From hotels and interiors, to furniture and tiles, lighting and fabrics and rugs to bathroom mixers – all manage to combine minimalism with playful, surprising, feminine accents. She avoids being pigeonholed by working on different and complex projects and is inspired to look for “innovative and functional solutions that are empathetic with the people that will use and live them”.
The designer also embraces a mixed approach to the creative process and her studio’s forward-thinking mantra incorporates technology, experimenting in virtual reality on top of current projects. Urquiola believes in always looking to the future, ““I think technology has always been changing the ways we do things, and we’re at the beginning of an era which is going to experience big changes”.
Urquiola’s work is acclaimed, and she has been selected as designer of the year multiple times. She was awarded the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes and the Order of Isabella the Catholic by King Juan Carlos I of Spain and was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2011.
Her designs are impressively displayed at furniture trade shows all over the world and many of her works are also exhibited as design pieces. Venues include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Les arts decoratifs in Paris, the Museum of Design in Zurich, Vitra Design Museum in Basel, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Stedelijk in Amsterdam and Triennale Museum in Milan.
Considered the “designer of the decade”, her body of work is prolific. Not yet even 60, Patricia Urquiola is one of the most coveted interior designers in the world – the future is bright for this eclectic designer. “Life continues until the last minute, you can learn, you can achieve something important for you. Why not be alive?”.
- 2004: Flo chairs
- 2002: Fjord armchair
- 2016: Beam sofa system
- 2017: Floe Insel system
- 2018: Bowy sofa
- 2018: Back-Wing chair
- 2003: Galleria Alina Espacio, Mallorca, Spain.
- 2004: Interieur, Kortrijk, Belgium.
- 2005: Ideal House, IMM, Cologne, Germany.
- 2006: “P.U. Ajuar”, Casa Pasarela, Madrid, Spain.
- 2008: “Chasen”, Flexibility, Le Nuove, Turin, Italy.
- 2008: “Purely Porcelain”, London Design Museum, London, UK.
- 2009: Muzeum Sztuk Użytkowych, Poznań, Poland.
- 2010: “Macrosterias”, Art Basel, Switzerland.
- 2010: “Contempling The Void”, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA.
- 2010: Art Basel 41, Basel, Switzerland.
- 2011: “All Ambiq”,Design Miami, Miami, FL, USA.
- 2011: “All Ambiq”, Venice Art Biennale, Venice, Italy.
- 2011: “Creative Junctions”, National Museum of China, Beijing International Design Triennial, Beijing, China.
- 2012: “All Ambiq”, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY, USA.
- 2013: “O’clock – time design, design time”, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China.
- 2013: “Glasstress”, MUDAC, Museum for Design and Contemporary Applied Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland.
- 2014: “Gathering” exhibition by Li Edelkoort & Philip Fimmano approaches, Design Museum Holon
- 2017: “Patricia Urquiola: Between Craft and Industry”, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
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