Video: Macrame, technology and senses: How the experimenter Patricia Urquiola found her way into industrial design
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
Furniture and interiors of Patricia Urquiola are always experimental and ergonomic, but fascinate with emotionality, sensuality and comfort. The temperamental Spanish woman proves that women bring not only new ideas to design, but also a real humanity that challenges the cold world of high technology.
Her full name is Patricia Cristina Blanca Hidalgo Urquiola. She was born in a Spanish town filled with the spirit of antiquity and preserved medieval buildings. Patricia's first inspirations were her family. Urquiola's mother received a degree in philosophy and brought up independence in her daughter, and she considered freedom to be the main value in life. According to Patricia, despite her studies in philosophy, she was very down-to-earth, pragmatic and tough. Her father, a gentle and empathic person, devoted his life to engineering, but in his free time he was fond of playing the piano. The cousin, grandmother and husband of Patricia's older sister were involved in architecture.
Patricia was the middle child in the family. She really liked it, since the attention of the parents was directed to the youngest daughter, the older daughter got the increased demands, and Patricia could relax and do whatever she wanted. From an early age she loved folk crafts - weaving furniture, woodcarving, macrame …
Subsequently, it was the use of old technologies that became her hallmark, and in an interview, Patricia often says that in old age she sees herself weaving macrame away from big cities.
An intelligent, highly educated and at the same time artistic environment nurtured Patricia's artistic talent, and already at the age of twelve she knew for sure that she would be engaged in creativity. And at eighteen she went to Madrid to study architecture - with the warm support of the whole family.
However, a difficult educational trajectory led Urquiola to the Polytechnic University of Milan, where she studied industrial design under the guidance of the famous designer Achille Castiglioni. There she learned to follow the main rule of modern design - maximum effect at minimum cost. In addition, the sensitivity and empathy inherited from her father was revealed to the maximum here - Patricia realized how important it is to take into account the peculiarities of people's lives, and discovered in herself the talent to understand the customer perfectly.
She calls the contact with the customer "the principle of four hands", where two hands are hers, and two are the client, because each person is individual and has his own idea of psychological comfort and beauty.
“Things should become human friends,” she says. However, things in the interior should be self-sufficient, represent separate works of art.
Urquiola's style is sophisticated minimalism, where high technology is combined with traditional crafts, extravagance and playfulness, unexpected materials and original combinations.
Often she projects unconsciously - the image of a thing seems to be born in her head, declaring her character and bright personality. “Every subject needs a story,” explains Patricia.
The interaction of a person and a thing is the most important thing. A thing must attract, call, seduce a person. It should be comfortable, but in the same spirit as smooth stones on the shore - you can sit on them to rest, but they are beautiful in and of themselves.
A piece of furniture should be impeccably comfortable to use, but at the same time remain meaningful and attractive when not in use - as an element of the landscape.
Wicker chairs, stylized floral motifs, embroidery and weaving - all of this primarily affects customers emotionally, promising relaxation and safety. Urquiola is also attracted to modern materials - for example, transparent glass and plastic, but this transparency must be saturated, changing reality.
At the same time, Urquiola is not as tender and vulnerable as it seems. From her mother she inherited a practical mindset and a tough character, allowing her to pave her own way in the "male" profession.
Urquiola believes that women designers have a special mission: "The woman adds more common sense, multitasking and adaptability to the design."
Patricia began designing furniture for renowned Italian furniture companies. Each of her new projects attracted more and more status customers to her. They celebrated not only Patricia's love of experimentation, but also her unique ability to combine technology and feelings.
Urquiola has designed the interiors of luxury hotels, fashion galleries, business centers, restaurants and residential spaces around the world.
The main decoration of her own office is the drawings of her children. Urquiola laughs that the ability to live and work in one place helps her to combine family and career: "I can always be in touch with clients, while my daughter Sofia does her homework in mathematics in the next studio." Urquiola's husband is her closest friend, colleague and main confidant. He is the commercial director of her company, handling all economic issues, while Urquiola enjoys creativity.
Patricia Urquiola is not only one of the most original and successful industrial designers, but also the owner of many awards and regalia. Order of Isabella the Catholic and Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos I of Spain, prestigious Design Award in Germany, A&W Designer of the Year, a place in the World Designers Hall of Fame.
Journalists like to call her Hurricane Patricia. Urquiola opposes this nickname, but admits that he hates the framework and strict requirements, seeking to destroy them and break free.
For example, she hates deadlines - after all, real creativity cannot be limited by time. Patricia is not inclined to argue that gender does not matter. The very fact that she is a woman shaped her creative style - addressing forgotten and irrelevant topics for men, caring for the comfort of pregnant women, a difficult creative path … “Being a woman is part of my way of thinking,” she says. "I don't have to prove anything to anyone."
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