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Introduction

Born in Oviedo, Spain but living in Italy Patricia Urquiola is a famous interior designer, architect and designer. She is known internationally thanks to her great designs that are suitable for so many projects. She also works a lot with known furniture companies such as Molteni or Boffi.

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Patricia 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.

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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. AD Architecture Design Award 2008.

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“The piece I identify with 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.”

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Biography

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: 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 also she works as a consultant for Honda and LG.

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Some of her products are exposed in the permanent collection of Moma in New York and other international museums. Patircia 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 Deco, 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.

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Background & Realizations: the projects

Design

Salinas

Italian brand Boffi has a modular kitchen system by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola at its Chelsea showroom during London Design Festival 2015.

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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.

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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 which, when integrated with the backrest and/or the armrest, 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 in-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.

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Lariana (for Agape) is a compact bathtub of reduced dimensions. 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 Cristalplant®

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The ‘Jellies’ coat hangers are a line of wall-mounted hooks which take the form of a button, that refer to Urquiola’s ‘Kartell in Tavola’ pieces. recalling the line of tableware, the designs feature a variety of patterns and rich textures that offer visually interesting reflections. made from colored and transparent plastic, the ‘jellies’ coat hangers are reminiscent of faceted crystals and their multiple geometries.

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Shimmer (for Glas Italia)

Group of low laminated and glued glass round tables, characterized by a special iridescent multicolored finish; the nuance varies according to the incidence angle of the light and to the vantage point. Objects with magical and ethereal appearance emerge.

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Architecture

Molteni

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.

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Officine Panerai
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, simple idea of design, like that of the brand’s watches, respecting tradition with a look that is 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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Museo Gioiello
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. ItÕs 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

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The Most Iconic Projects

Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

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This Hotel is full of Urquiola’s work. Looking into the New Build hotel and were mesmerized by the whole project itself which was no surprise when we found out that the designer responsible is none other than (one of our truly favorites) Patricia Urquiola.

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She is a unique designer that has worked along major design firms which clearly have made a mark. Prior to setting up her own design studio in Milan, she managed De Padova firm’s new product development office, in collaboration with the designer and architect Vico Magistretti, she later headed Piero Lissoni’s design team for five years. An impressive journey leading up to this impressive project.

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This exquisite hotel for the elite is housed in the re-development and elegant mid-20th Century building located on Passeig de Gràcia, at the very center of Barcelona’s commercial and entertainment district.  It consists of 98 rooms, a 1,000sqm spa, choices among high-quality restaurants, a rooftop terrace pool with panoramic views and an exclusive 236sqm suite occupying the entire 8th floor. However talk does not impress us but interiors do. Interiors such as this.  This hotel is the epitome of contemporary design. Upon arrival, you walk inside a world that presents exclusivity and uniqueness. With an atrium passage consisting of punched frameless glazed openings the atmosphere is fluid and clear.

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There is clear circulation guidance through the patterned dark floor guiding you to the welcome area. An area designed as a living space with the reception cleverly concealed behind the patterned see through panel. Through this approach as a guest you are immediately welcomed and invited to relax as opposed to facing a large check in desk reminding you that you are about to handle paperwork and waiting time. Throughout the public areas this notion of comfort, elegance and hospitality are present everywhere in the hotel. The most sought after seating area is the grand internal Mimosa garden which covers a 660sqm area for al fresco dining. There is however a different language present throughout the interiors according to the space’s function. This is cleverly achieved without dominating and secluding each area with a completely different design language.

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For example, the bar retains this inviting comfort and exclusive ambience but at the same time it has been designed with a completely different essence giving a more atmospheric sharp and sexy approach to it. The concealed gold effect lighting surrounding the bar is what invites you to the space with its luminosity and subtle richness. Our most favourable area and the reason to what brought us to this project is of course the ‘blanc’ restaurant. An interior with a sculptural weaved surrounding frame which through the use of lighting reflects to the outside perimetric walls. A truly exclusive restaurant of its kind, which leaves you breathless. It offers everything that a guest is looking for in an interior. Neutral warm palette, element of surprise, inviting furniture / layout arrangement and ample of day light. It is safe to say that we are in love with this space.

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All of the above also apply to the bedrooms were we see a successful continuation of ideas in the design. A continuation that if we were to see random photos of the bedrooms and for example the bar we would know that these two interiors are part of the same project. Overall the interiors are kept clean cut, with the use of pure white as the general palette creating a relaxing, hygienic and inviting bedroom. There is however one element that brings in modernity and richness. This is the subtle yellow/gold glazed partitions leading to the bathroom. Once inside we have the presence somewhere on the walls of the grey palette, which with the combination of the glazing tones we feel acquainted with the interior as the overall idea is not foreign to us. The materials completely different but the design approach is consistent. The bedrooms overall have a clarity to them which even though the palette is mainly white through the furnishings and details they portray comfort and relaxation successfully, without giving an essence of coldness and modernity.

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The unique feature in this hotel is of course the 236sqm apartment-like suite. Here Patricia Urquiola has combined sumptuous fabrics of leather, velvet and exquisite silks along with elegant woods and a rich palette of green, black and gold to create a sophisticated and vibrant living space. In the suite from the beautiful Tai Ping silk and wool rugs to the Bassano ceramics and statement pieces of furniture, these all have been designed exclusively for the hotel by Patricia Urquiola working with renowned brands such as B&B, Moroso and Molteni. The result is a stylish blend of simplicity and sophistication effortlessly mixing Mediterranean influences with a subtle Asian touch that can be perceived in the ordered layout of the rooms and in the large cotton screens that have become a symbol of Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona. As well as exquisite interior design, the Penthouse Suite provides its guests with the most exclusive services including a 24-hour dedicated butler service and private lift with direct access from the lobby to the suite’s large reception hall, guaranteeing the minimum of fuss and maximum discretion.

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This project is one of the successful endings to this year. It reminds us that design has no barriers and that all can be successfully created, by knowing how to retain that subtle balance which if achieved you reach near perfection. It is a project that reminds us of nothing of its kind and inspires us. It is a project that is simply great.

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See also: Top Interior Designers | Deborah Berke Partners

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Missoni – Paris

Missoni is a flagship store in Paris at 219 Rue Saint-HonorŽ. The boutique, boasting over 300 square metres spread over two floors. With two and nine tall display cases, inside, MissoniÕs tones and textures are applied in various ways to the materials Ð wood, Alicrite, metal and fabric Ð to create a unique space in which technology and tailoring merge. The outcome is a collage of stripes, zigzags and expanded motifs interpreted on walls and ceilings. The project maintains all the main features of the Milan flagship store, but is distinguished by unique details tied to the ‘Žsprit de Paris’: here greens and blues predominate in certain iconic elements such as the macro-zigzags on the walls, while other architectural aspects, such as the soft lines of the staircase, the rounded corners of the ceilings, the lighting trellises and the point de Hongrie parquet flooring, were inspired from the most classic French palaces and gardens.

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In terms of products Urquiola’s portfolio is endless. Anyway we can point out two important products that she produced.
The first one are some chairs for the Crinoline Collection for b&B italia and the second is the rugs and puffs for the brand GAN.

Crinoline Collection

With the crinoline series Patricia Urquiola’s study on 3d texture reaches formal, soft and sinuous results that develops into seats, small armchairs and armchairs that vary in shape and height. the black- white and black-bronze dual coloured polyethylene weave matches the natural fibre or bronze string. A well armchair is impressively adorned with a magenta natural fibre poncho thrown over the seat and back.

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For GAN

Bandas

Modularity taken to the limit.
All pieces in the BANDAS collection can be interchanged. An ingenious system, designed by this extraordinary designer, allows the collection to be adapted to any space, any personality and any mood.
Life is change and BANDAS will change with you.

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Mangas Puffs by Patricia Urquiola

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Patricia Urquiola Awards

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2011

– 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.[3]

2012

– 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

2013

– European Health & Spa Award, No. 1 in Best Hotel Spa for the Mandarin Hotel Oriental, Barcelona, Spain
– Elle Deco 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)

2014

– 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 Deco 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

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Special Project – Patrizia Moroso’s house

This house was designed by the prolific Spanish architect, Patricia Urquiola for Patrizia Moroso, creative director of the super fab Italian furniture company Moroso. It’s a pretty major design royalty right there. Yet the outcome is surprisingly simple and modest. Incredibly stylish and beautiful, but quite modest and restrained. Some of the furniture seen in this house is one of a kind, like the painted metal chairs by Ron Arad. There are a few Moroso prototypes as well, like the Rift sofa by Patricia Urquiola covered in African fabric. Some pieces are sample rejects, like the Ron Arad plastic Ripple chairs on the terrace. Their colors were muddled in the molding process which really appealed to Patrizia Moroso. She says that she is drawn to ‘strange’ versions of furniture and mistakes from factories that have resulted in unique pieces made by the industrial process. Her house is a kind of testing place for her, and an extension of what Moroso do. Some of the art in the house includes a giant light box by Fathi Hassan and an oversize photograph by Boubacar Touré Mandémory. These two contemporary artists who were featured in Moroso’s influential “M’Afrique” exhibition during the 2009 Milan Furniture Fair.

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Inspirational quotes

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“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.”

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Sources:
haworth.com, decoracaosaopaulo.com.br, patriciaurquiola.com, yatzer.com, wallpaper.com, covetedition.com, gandiablasco.com, insideout.com, yellowtrace.com.au, azquotes.com

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For Agape – Pear Collection

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  • I wish I had written this detailed article about Urquiola – she is my favourite contemporary designer and although I have been publishing regularly about her designs, I have not written such a generalized article about her. Congratulations 🙂