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Patricia Urquiola

*1960

A quick to learn Castiglioni student back then, a world famous designer today

The Spanish designer born in Oviedo in 1960 is considered as one of the best-known female light designers of our time and the most versatile artists. In addition to lights, she also created furniture, carpets and other furnishing objects. Her list of renowned customers includes Foscarini, Rosenthal, Kartell, B&B Italia, Flos, Driade and Hansgrohe/Axor. The product and industrial designer Patricia Urquiola studied architecture in Spain before she completed an industrial design course at the Polytechnic University of Milan. And this is where she got to know the design icon Achille Castiglioni who supported her as a doctoral supervisor until she attained her doctorate. In 1990, she followed the Italian legend to Paris, where she worked as an assistant teacher at the National School of Industrial Design until 1992. Therefore, Urquiola’s designs are greatly influenced by the works of Achille Castiglioni. In an interview with the German architecture and design magazine “A & W – Architektur und Wohnen” she once said: "He (Achille Castiglioni) taught me to approach projects intuitively and individually. He always enjoyed creating new designs and you can see this from his works. They are more than some tools used in the living area, they are rather a versatile enrichment for our lives."

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The fact that Patricia Urquiola adopted this approach can be exemplarily seen when taking a look at the Foscarini Caboche range. These lights are magnificent lighting objects which thanks to their internally located diffuser made from hand-blown glass and the spheres manufactured using a translucent plastic material not only provide for a fascinating lighting effect but also are unique eye-catchers that leave a lasting impression on the viewer – and they are also available as an energy-efficient LED version. Between 1991 and 1996 she worked for De Padova, an Italian designer furniture manufacturer. Within the context of this cooperation she met the architect and designer Vico Magistretti. The Milanese designer who died in 2006 created strong luminaires that stand for innovative technology, expediency and a charming message – Patricia Urquiola also embraced these features. This is, for instance, reflected in the Tatou range that she later designed for Flos: a pendant light inspired by the battle armour of the Japanese samurai that creates a wonderful play of light and shadow thanks to its dome-shaped, comb-like lampshade. In the 1990s, Urquiola was active in the field of interior design and decorated exhibition rooms and restaurants.

As from 2001, Urquiola continued her success story by founding her own design studio. She thereby gained her worldwide reputation specifically as a furniture designer. She is a permanent guest at exhibitions and trade fairs where the latest, spectacular works by the Spanish designer are presented. Here, her very personal style can be identified: triangle combinations, knitting patterns and floral elements are joined to form objects that convey elegance, straightforwardness and a better quality of life. For this purpose, Urquiola often uses strong colours for her works, however, she sometimes also reverts to warm and earthy tones.

As a light designer Urquiola up to now worked, amongst others, for well-known brands such as Flos and Foscarini. An example of her works created for Foscarini is the enticing Caboche light which looks like a large pearl ring that reflects the light in an unparalleled way – as a result a fascinating and spectacular room light is created. For Flos, on the other hand, Patricia Urquiola designed truly original objects: an innovative pendant light with lamellae made from pliable, stainless steel foil that can be individually adjusted. Thus, the owner may form the lamellae as desired – there are hardly any limits on creativity here.

Patricia Urquiola was selected as designer of the year multiple times: in 2003 by the international magazine "ELLE Deco", in 2006 by the "Wallpaper Magazine" and in 2008 during the design fair "Maison & Objet" in Paris.

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