The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents the exhibition “Patricia Urquiola: between craft and industry”, which started in November and will run until 4 March 2018. Visitors can explore a selection of furniture and designs as well as the creative processes of the Spanish designer, ranging from the individual concepts to the finished products. Her personal sources of inspiration are also on display at the exhibition, which vividly show how the designer imbues objects and environment with soul.
Patricia Urquiola‘s artistic ambivalence
Time and again, Patricia Urquiola addresses an artistic ambivalence between craft and industry, ranging from product design and interior design to architecture. In doing so, she always manages to successfully fuse the artisanal and the industrial. The paramount thematic characteristics of her work are comfort, well-being and social interaction. Her fascination with craftsmanship is reflected in the “Crinoline” chair shown at the exhibition, which she designed for the Italian manufacturer B&B Italia. The shape of this chair was inspired by the structured petticoats of the 19th century.
Among her architectural projects are the Jewellery Museum in Vicenza, the Gianvito Rossi men’s boutique in Milan as well as the concept for the “Ferrari – Under the Skin” roadshow, which she designed for Ferrari’s 70th anniversary. Numerous restaurants, discotheques, showrooms, stores and hotels, such as the luxurious boutique hotel Das Stue in Berlin or the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Barcelona, also bear Patricia Urquiola’s hallmark signature and show just how diversified her creations are.
Comfortable and very sensuous design of Spanish origin
As a prominent representative of contemporary Italian design, she is also known for her innovative and imaginative designs, which are functional and yet pragmatic. Patricia Urquiola’s comfortable designs have a certain airiness and alluring shapes coupled with sensuousness. There are hardly any right angles but rather lots of colourful elements, various knitting patterns, three-dimensional decors as well as style and colour mixes, which are often in warm hues.
Her designs are unmistakable. For example, she combines minimalism with florals and reduction with playfulness. The “Antibodi” chaise presented at the exhibition, which she designed for the renowned manufacturer of lounge suits and furnishing accessories Moroso, clearly demonstrates her fondness for flowers. A broken seashell and the shape of antibodies on display at the exhibition vividly show where the designer draws her ideas from. A Japanese whisk made from bamboo was, however, the source of inspiration for the “Chasen” hanging light, which she designed for Flos S.p.A. in 2007 and which is also showcased at the exhibition.
Collaboration with designer legends and international brands
The versatility of Patricia Urquiola’s work and the fact that she takes the wishes of her principals seriously are the key to her success. The Spanish designer, who was born in the northern Spanish town of Oviedo in 1961, now lives and works in Milan. She first studied architecture at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and later moved to Milan, where she studied with the influential lighting designer Achille Castiglioni and also did her PhD while simultaneously working at the ENSCI design school in Paris. At that time, she met the designer legend Vico Magistretti through her partnership with the Italian furnishing company De Padova. In the 1990s she took over the management of De Padova’s product development and of Pierro Lissoni’s design studio Lissioni Associati.
Patricia Urquiola designed her first pieces of furniture for the retail business together with Vico Magistretti, such as the “Flower” chair and the “Loom” sofa, among others. She went on to design a number of groundbreaking seating and upholstery products for Moroso followed by numerous assignments by other Italian and international brands, such as Agape, Alessi, Baccarat, B&B, Boffi, Budri, Driade, Flos, Gan, Georg Jensen, Glas Italia, Haworth, Kartell, Kvadrat, Listone Giordano, Louis Vuitton, Moroso, Mutina, Rosenthal and Verywood. Over the years, she expanded her creative work and moved from furniture design up to bathroom design and also works for Hansgrohe today. She opened her first design studio in 2001, which up to this day is still located at a former warehouse in Via Seneca, a quiet side road in Milan.
Honourable design awards
In the international media, Patricia Urquiola is almost regularly voted as „Designer of the Year” and has received numerous design awards, such as the “Designer of the Decade” by the German “Home” and “Häuser” magazines. In 2004 she received a prize for her “Diamond Table” and in 2013 a prize in the cross-over design category for her “Hosu” lounge collection at the Red Dot Design Awards.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on a hill in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. The adjacent Rodin Museum and the Fairmount Park Houses are also part of the museum, which is home to one of the largest and most important collections in the US and presents annually alternating exhibitions. Sculptures ranging from ancient times to the modern era are showcased next to art from the Middle East. Further core themes are Asiatic art, handicrafts, textiles and apparel as well as a photo collection. In addition, the original furniture of houses in Europe, Asia and America is shown in the so-called Period Rooms. Those not interested in the exhibitions presented at the museum just come to see the building itself, which featured in movies, such as “Philadelphia” and “Rocky”.
Posted on 02.02.2018