Patricia Urquiola is one of the most recognized personalities working in the fields of interior design and architecture. Born in Spain, she has established herself both in her adoptive Italy and abroad. Fascinated by traditional techniques and inspired by craftsmanship, she creates elegant objects with exotic and feminine touches. She has collaborated with great masters of design such as Castiglioni, Magistretti, and Piero Lissoni.
Urquiola is an emblematic figure in Italian design who dares to take chances, blazing a trail that is truly self defined. She is a true Maestro in several disciplines: product design, interior design, and corporate branding. Urquiola is one of the world’s biggest references and sources of inspiration in the world of interior design.
has won various awards in the world of design and frequently lectures at prestigious international universities. A selection of her work is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She has also been a designer in the LabShop of the Laboral Centro de Arte de Gijón and is responsible for the interior of the luxurious Hotel Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona. In 2009, German magazine, Häuser, named her the best interior designer of the first decade of the 21st century.
From Spain to Italy
Born in 1961 in Oviedo, Spain, Patricia Urquiola has been passionate about architecture and design since her early childhood. Encouraged by her parents, she graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Madrid Polytechnic. Thanks to her father, she discovered her vocation for architecture at an early age.
Urquiola then moved to Italy, where she studied design at Milan Polytechnic. She wrote a thesis under the direction of Achille Castiglioni, a famous Italian designer. Urquiola recognizes him as the best interior designer and Arts Decoratifs champion. It was then that she discovered her attraction to decorative design. She then worked as an assistant lecturer with Castiglioni, and at the ENSCI in Paris.
Patricia Urquiola on the road to success
In 1991, she flew with her own wings by taking over the management of the product development office of De Padova. She was the Art Director of this furniture manufacturing company. She collaborated with Vico Magistretti on that project. This period was very prolific for the Spanish designer. Urquiola conceived many environments that were both sober and sophisticated and simple.
Since then, she has coordinated the design department of the Lissoni Associati office. At the same time, Urquiola devoted herself to interior design and created several simple, elegant and refined spaces for restaurants and boutiques. In 1996 she became head of design of the Lissoni Associati’s group and worked for major brands such as Cappellini and Alessi. In 2008, she was named designer of the year at Now! Design à vivre in Paris showroom.
Opening of her own Design Studio Urquiola
As a woman of challenges, Patricia Urquiola opened her first design studio in 2001 in Milan, the city where she currently resides. She works in furniture design, interior design, and architecture. This is the first time that she is not surrounded by a team. All her talent is brought to light. Urquiola’s fame grows as she designs new objects for Moroso, Fasem, Kartell, Driade, and many others.
Prestigious collaborations and worldwide influence
Here’s a list of some of her best architectural projects:
- Two luxury hotels: the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Barcelona and the W Retreat & Spa in Vieques, Puerto Rico
- A villa in Udine
- The scenography for the opera “The Coronation of Poppea” by Monteverdi
- Showrooms and presentation facilities for Hermès, Gianvito Rossi, Valentino, Max Mara, H&M
- The global concept for Pitti Immagine Firenze
As proof of Urquiola’s immense influence in the world of design, several of her creations are now on display at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MoMA) in New York, such as her “Fjord Armchair and Foot Stool” and her table lamp “Bague”. She also presented a marble work at Art 41 Basel. Her work has also been featured at such as the in London. It would not be surprising to see a in the future given her immense popularity. Urquiola has worked with the head of as well.
In terms of design, she closely collaborates with the following international companies:
- Andreu World
- B&B Italia
- Bart Design
- Chevalier Edition
- Il Coccio
- De Padova
- De Vecchi
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Gallotti & Radice
- Gandia Blasco
- Glass Italia
- Mixing Media
- Maurice Lacroix
- Peter Mabeo
- MDF Italia
- Paola Lenti
- Champagne Ruinart
- San Lorenzo
A distinctive and multifaceted style
Patricia Urquiola has worked a lot on creating an organic style. She incorporates in her projects a great variety of natural elements such as honeycombs, stars, filaments, and lines that she has drawn from nature. She endows her creations with soft, feminine, and sometimes ornamental fabrics.
What interests Urquiola is that her projects are always a subject to research: a place, a culture, or even the fact of mixing ancestral know-how with industrial techniques. You can often find an Asian influence or Japanese touch in the pure lines of her creations. In the same way, most designs are marked by her taste for weaving.
Yet, Urquiola does not define herself in a unique style and is rather versatile. This allows her to respond to many conceptual and aesthetic issues. Being a visionary, she has broken the codes and has perfectly understood the industrial stakes of major manufacturers by designing objects that are both trendsetting and marketable.
Urquiola admits that despite over twenty years in this industry, she still doesn’t really know when she comes up with a final outcome: “The product takes shape by gradually answering questions that emerge one after the other. It’s a lot of work. People capture what the element gives off. I let myself be carried along while trying to make simple and genuine objects.”
Her Poetic creations
finds inspiration from her travels and the various craftsmen that she meets on her journey. Her creative combination of vegetal and feminine touches expresses itself in her outdoor armchairs such as the Crinoline armchair, edited by B&B, or the Tropicalia chair for Moroso.
For her Klara line, she has been inspired by handcrafted wickerwork techniques and natural materials. Natural shapes and structures are also a source of creativity with the Fjord range of indoor seating for Moroso, which works around the theme of the Scandinavian coast. The shapes are pure and asymmetrical.
Craftsmanship also inspires the designer when she uses ancestral embroidery techniques from Uzbekistan to create the Fergana modular sofa. Very prolific, the designer is particularly noticed with her collection M’Afrique, in collaboration with other artists. Here again, traditional weaving techniques are used to design furniture with bright-colored fabrics.
The duty of inclusiveness of an architect-designer
In 2021, the information capacity has become such that it is no longer possible to ignore the facts of society. Sustainable development, for example, has become a given, and the question of its legitimacy is no longer an issue.
In the early stages of her career, Urquiola worked with exclusive design products for some of the world’s finest companies. Yet, she was quite isolated from the mainstream public. Today she has naturally moved closer to it: “Each project can be a source of research and innovation, you just have to want it, even if it is not always obvious. These are my current concerns, and that’s what makes me proud.”
In the world of design, it is necessary to understand one’s role and the duty of inclusiveness and functionality. It is a powerful reminder for the Spanish architect and designer. Urquiola is very concerned about not staying in an exclusive world, that’s why she likes to operate at all scales.
Today’s customers are looking for quality above all else. Not a quality of materials or techniques, but quality in thinking, in concepts. In Singapore, Urquiola is currently working on the design of a “sustainable” hotel covered with a second skin of glass. There are many openings all over the building, which makes it possible to create public spaces similar to hanging gardens.
If you are interested in either new or old furniture creations of the beautiful Spanish designer, contact Modern Resale. We sell lovely Patricia Urquiola products at great prices.