Born in Spain and studying in Madrid, Patricia Urquiola says: “Professionally I was born in Italy, studying with masters like Bruno Munari, the intellectual father of the Milanese school. At the same time I consider myself very Spanish: an Asturian of Basque descent.”
Urquiola originally wanted to be an architect. “My father was an engineer but he always said he would have loved to have been an architect. He always spoke about it. Everybody in my home loved architecture and interiors. My mother’s friends say, ‘Oh, Patricia is designing a lot now, but when is she finally going to become an architect?’ Because in Spain the ‘a’ of architecture is more important than the ‘d’ of design.”
She began her career working for De Padova, eventually leading product development. From 1993 to 1996 she practiced architecture, before becoming the head of the Lissoni Associates design group, working for Alessi, Flos, Artelano, Boffi, Cappellini, Cassina, Kartell, among others, and in the 1998, she opened her Milan-based studio, where she designs for a myriad of Italian design companies, such as Moroso, B&B, Bosa, De Vecchi, Fasem, Kartell, Liv’it, MDF Italia, Molteni & C., and Tronconi.
Patricia has won many design awards and has lectured at conferences and seminars in various international universities. Her products were selected for the Italian Design 2001 exhibition and for International Design Yearbook 1999 and 2001. In 2001 she was the chair of the jury for the 19th CDIM Design Award and a lecturer in the Domus Academy.
On January 2005, the Coral Gables showroom was transformed for one delightfully magical evening into a pavilion for socializing, dining, and exploring modern design. Urquiola was named Guest of Honor, and she shared fascinating stories of her work in architecture and design. Her charisma and quick intelligence charmed guests, exciting new thoughts, encouraging discovery and inspiring dreams.
In 2006, she lovingly cloaked Eerno Aarnio’s 3D white plastic puppy in soft, colorful patches. Patchwork Puppy, inspired by toys of nostalgia, was auctioned to help raise funds for cancer research. And in 2008, Urquiola donated her generous creativity to PaperLove, the second incarnation of the ‘Love’ series. By constructing chairs out of paper, marked by her uniquely rotund style, she was able to explore new opportunities and different forms offered by the medium. These delicate objects were auctioned to raise funds to find a cure for cancer.
Likewise in 2008, Urquiola created two new design systems fused with history and culture. Canasta, in particular, interweaves the ancient with the modern: the seats are inspired by baskets yet made of advanced materials. And secondly, a garden of earthly delights, Antibodi blooms uniquely with select fabric or leather flower-like folds covering the entire seat. The stainless steel tubular base holds a lounge chair or a chaise.
Urquiola is currently conducting her professional activity in her own studio in Milan, focusing on design, exhibitions, art direction, and architecture.