An Exclusive Peek Into The World Of Patricia Urquiola
Spanish by birth but Italian by choice, the interior designer is one of the most coveted interior designers in the world, with her work revolving around rigour and emotion, innovation and mental comfort. Patricia Urquiola was born in Oviedo, Spain and studied architecture in Madrid before graduating from the Milan Politecnico in 1989. CovetED had the opportunity to sit down with the designer during the latest edition of Salone del Mobile and, today we bring you a sneak peek
You were lucky to be mentored by the great masters of Italian industrial design – Achille Castiglioni and Vico Magistretti – what work, or life lessons, did you take from both of them?
“Well, what kind of lessons I didn’t learn from them? This year I had the luck to do an exhibition in the Triennale di Milano, about Achille Castiglioni. And I thought “How can I be serious, and happy and give to the people all the incredible energy he gave to me?”. I thought “Perhaps we are not brave enough”. I think Vico and Castiglioni are obviously two very different people, they both were very essential in the way they were living and doing, and the idea Vico said “I believe all designs, in the end, are concepts”. At the moment you can explain to someone what you want to do, and the person on the other side understands, in some way you are getting what design is. Many people interpret this as the lazy way of doing design, but he said that you always divide your works with others, with the company, that’s very important, with the artisans and the industrials. At the same time, you need to have your concept and you have to move. Castiglioni always said the “one fundamental element of the project”, this means that there’s no exchange about this element. But the other things, that are related to the path of a project, you can manage with others, but the fundamental element is the concept. That’s in your hand and you have to drive until the end.”
When are you at your happiest?
“What’s important for me is, when I think about my daughters or any young person, to see them without any kind of perspective, perspective for me is so important. You can have a big problem, if you wake up in the morning with that problem, but if you see a light at the end of the tunnel, things are okay. What is dramatic is the depression, the moment when you really don’t see light and lost your perspective. I think it’s important to always have a perspective.“
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
“I’m quite a social person, I work with others very well, I’m very open to working in the companies, I discuss a lot, I say a lot of no’s, but we have a lot of fun. In the studio, I try to mix physical and digital work. I have a team that works together in the same house. We travel a lot to see clients and to do lectures, and I try to be humble and to things. Now I’m working on a building next to the hospital that will open in June, this is part of my work, my work is to share with other people. Our work is a mix of pragmatical and creative work, and all my work interests me.”
Are you working on anything new at the moment? Could you give us a little scoop on it?
“Cassina is a work that is taking a lot of my energy and that I believe in strongly, but I did a job with Rossana Orlandi. It’s an ironic daybed, it’s the Wasting Time Daybed, that is made out of recycled plastics.”
Was it a career-changing moment when you received the honour from His Majesty?
“The things that move your career are when you have a bad moment, a delay when you don’t get what you want, when there is a problem in an architectural design project and you know that those are the things that make you grow. When I say that we are perfectionists, it’s because you’re happy about it but there’s something that is always on your mind, it’s natural. And that’s what helps you go on and do better. The failures help you more. The failure of our relationship to the planet is what’s going to help us move. We have to look at failure as a value. Honours and medals are fantastic but it’s not only that that’s important.”
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