It is safe to assume that the name of Patricia Urquiola rings a bell for those with a keen interest in design. It would take quite the space in this article to list all the big brands and design manufacturers she has collaborated with and created signature collections for.
The Spanish-born Patricia was hugely influenced by the renowned design traditions of Italy, as she herself graduated from Politecnico di Milano and came first into the limelight at the Salone del Mobile. Since then, she established herself as one of the most iconic names in modern furniture and interior design, a fact that is attested to by brands such as Cassina, Moroso, B&B Italia, Louis Vuitton and Laufen, whose Sonar collection by Patricia will feature at this year’s S/ALON BUDAPEST. Read on to hear more about this wonderful collection and its designer from Patricia herself!
You are one of the most renowned designers of our times, with an outstandingly diverse portfolio – you create surfaces, fabrics, products, furniture and spaces as well. How do you reconcile different fields and aspects of your work? How are you able to stay inspired?
For sure, my double profession fills me with new stimuli every day and inspires me to think of ideas and solutions that cross both practices. Talking about my approach as an architect, I strongly believe in favoring local sourcing in my projects and communicating the genius loci, just like we did for il Sereno. For this hotel, we used natural materials (local stone Ceppo di Gré, wood, wool, natural fibers) and the lake enters inside every space through reflections and the colour palette itself.
Then, as a designer, upcycling is a concept I always try to apply to my work.
I believe that waste is a precious resource and either using technology or through the hands of a skillful artisan, it can be transformed and we can obtain surprising results.
I want to make people think about this new idea of beauty generated from waste.
What do you enjoy the most in collaborating with different brands?
Every project is a different journey, but I enjoy working with various companies because every time I learn something and I establish a unique dialogue. Working four-hands with my clients is crucial to me, this has been my approach always during these years.
Physical contact is very important for you in the design process. Why do you find it crucial to touch and really feel materials?
The tactile experience is absolutely essential.
It is fundamental when I design surfaces, of course, but also in architecture projects. For example, onboard Sanlorenzo SD96, I wanted to provide guests with a tactile experience, thanks to the boiserie on the walls that interact with them while sailing.
What are the main differences in regards to skills and methods when it comes to product and interior design?
I follow the same process. I always start from a blank page and then comes the client’s brief. That is when the most crucial part of the process starts, when me and my team begin the dialogue with the client, sharing skills and knowledge. From the first meeting to the final prototype, it is always a matter of teamwork. This has been my personal approach to projects since I started my career and it still is.
Also, working across the two disciplines helps me find a solution for architecture when working on a design project and vice versa.
What was the main inspiration for your collection for Laufen? How long did it take to develop the collection? What were the main objectives and challenges of the project?
For me Sonar stands for contrasts, balance, elegance: the rigor of architectural minimalism, formal understatement and the dynamism of water and sound waves in close relationship with it. My aim was to combine these apparently widely separated sources of inspiration into a collection that is the expression of a gentle balance between angles and curves. This range is unique because of its reduced thickness yet great strength, lightness and glow. The surfaces are slender and light, but as a whole they outline spatial volumes.
What advice would you give to young designers who want to excel in product or interior design?
To persevere with a certain emotional rhythm. Daily difficulties are helpful to defend projects: you have to live together with them in a natural way.
And it is fundamental to surround yourself with people you trust and like.
There’s only a few days left before S/ALON BUDAPEST 2021 opens, where the art of Patricia Urquiola will appear in the form of her Sonar collection, courtesy of Laufen. We cannot begin to explain how excited we are to be able to welcome you and meet you in person once again at the impressive grounds of Budapest Arena. Come and join us for an unforgettable weekend of Hungarian and international design between September 24-26! Jump the queue and buy your ticket here online.