patricia urquiola





Patricia Urquiola


  1. The origins
  2. The debut
  3. Urquiola design studio
  4. Urquiola’s style
  5. Art Director of Cassina
  6. Awards and accolades
  7. Current situation


Born in Oviedo (Spain) in 1961, the architect and designer Patricia Urquiola is undoubtedly the most famous name for patterns and textiles. She studied architecture at the Polytechnic of Madrid and at the Polytechnic of Milan, where she graduated, in 1989 with Achille Castiglioni.

Dizionario della Moda Mame: Patricia Urquiola. La designer con il posacenere Synthesis 02 di Ettore Sottsass (Olivetti)

The designer with the Synthesis 02 ashtray by Ettore Sottsass (Olivetti)

“At the age of 18 I wanted to go and live on my own, I was good at maths and I had a strong creative instinct. Architecture became a possibility, perhaps also because there was no university in Oviedo. I belong to a middle-class family, my father was an engineer, my mother was a philosophy scholar” 


From a very young age she worked with great names of the Italian scene, such as Achille Castiglioni and Eugenio Bettinelli, for whom she was the assistant in Milan and the École nationale supérieure de création industrielle (ENSCI) of Paris. She was also the responsible for the development of new DePadova products. Then she worked closely with Vico Magistretti, with whom she created Flower, Loom sofa, Chaise and Chaise Longue. She also coordinated the design group of Lissoni Associati.


But her energy was unstoppable so in 2001 she opened her personal studio. She worked in the areas of product design, interiors and architecture.

Dizionario della Moda Mame: Patricia Urquiola. Prototipi della collezione per Kartell (salone del mobile 2016); ceramiche Tierras e vaso Landscape (Rosenthal). Sul retro, il cavallo del design Award 2013

Prototypes of the collection for Kartell (Salone del Mobile 2016); Tierras pottery and Landscape vase (Rosenthal). On the back, the horse of the Design Award 2013

Patricia designed products for the most important companies not only on the Italian scene, but also on the international one and She collaborated, among many others, with Moroso, for whom she designed the Klara armchair; with Molteni & C with the Clip bed, the Glove chairs and armchairs, the Night & Day sofa bed, and the Gliss Up wardrobe. She designed the Canasta Collection sofas For B&B Italia; Landscape porcelain for Rosenthal, and The Big Bug table for Mutina. She also collaborated with Alessi, famous in the panorama of product design, for which she presented the Spirogira baskets, She designed for many other companies. Among these: Agape, Axor-Hansgrohe, Baccarat, Boffi, Budri, De Padova, Driade, Flos, Gan, Georg Jensen, Glas Italia, Haworth, Kartell, Kvadrat, Listone Giordano, Louis Vuitton, Mutina and Verywood.

Her most recent architectural projects include the Jewelery Museum in Vicenza, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona, the Hotel Das Stue in Berlin and the Spa of the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan. She has carried out retail projects and installations for Gianvito Rossi, BMW, Cassina, Ferragamo, Flos, Missoni, Molteni, Officine Panerai, H&M, Santoni, Pitti Uomo Firenze.

Some of her products are exhibited in major art and design museums, including the MoMa in New York, the Musée des Arts decoratifs in Paris, the Design Museum in Zurich, the Vitra Design Museum in Basel, the Victorian & Albert Museum in London, the Stedelijk of Amsterdam, and the Museum of the Triennale di Milano in Milan.


“Whoever looks at an armchair must perceive a sense of mental comfort, not just physical” 

Patricia Urquiola is the jewel of the most important brands. Studio Urquiola incorporates a modern style with feminine accents and unexpected elements. From furniture to tiles, from lights to fabrics and from rugs to bathroom mixer taps, Patricia Urquiola’s distinctive design style combines a minimalist approach with floral elements, creating simple and fun designs. She mixes styles, models and materials with extravagance to suit her personal taste, stimulating curiosity and emotion.

Dizionario della Moda Mame: Patricia Urquiola. Tappeti della serie Rotazioni e Visioni, 2016

Carpets of the Rotazioni e Visioni series, 2016

She managed to make the furnishings dialogue through shades of colour or with pronounced contrasts. The artist is able to blend innovations of form and technology, with great attention to materials. Ergonomics and beauty. Novelty and charm. She learned curiosity and rigor from Achille Castiglioni: these two qualities can make each project profound and unrepeatable. Vico Magistretti, on the other hand, was pure generosity, said Patricia. Apparently he seemed icy, very elegant, distant. In his work, however, he really included you, he incited you, he stunned you with sentences. He literally needed to communicate.

“If I have to choose, if I can, I choose design. I say this aware of the value that architecture has for me. I opened the studio when I was close to my 40s, especially pushed by Piero Lissoni. I felt like I was mature to express my language. Lissoni said: “if you have a criterion, an opinion, you have to try”. If I think about design, I see objects that are born and grow happily, seen from the inside and from the outside. But each approach is always part of a personal journey. The truth is that I am attracted to every possible conquest because experimenting also means making mistakes and then trying again. Each fraction of the present contains something about the future” 


Patricia Urquiola was appointed Cassina’s creative director in September 2015. While Cassina prepared the 90th anniversary celebrations, the partnership with the Spanish designer further enriched the creative power of the company. Cassina has always been a source of charm and inspiration for the designer, especially for the research it carries out to identify paths of new shapes and meanings in the world of furniture, representing at the same time the essence of the modern spirit in design. Moreover, Cassina’s connection with the work of Vico Magistretti, one of the main influences of Patricia Urquiola, is significant.

Dizionario della Moda Mame: Patricia Urquiola. Patricia Urquiola per Cassina. Fondazione Feltrinelli, FuoriSalone 2017

Feltrinelli foundation, FuoriSalone 2017

The first projects by Cassina and Patricia Urquiola included the renovation of the historic New York Midtown Showroom, the research and development of new projects that were presented in 2016, and the preparation of the program for Cassina’s 90th anniversary celebrations in 2016- 2017.

Patricia Urquiola also collaborated with the Creative Direction of Poltrona Frau Group where she dealt with the Creative Direction of Poltrona Frau and with Giulio Cappellini, Art Director of Cappellini.


Patricia Urquiola was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts, conferred to her by the Spanish government. Among the various international awards and accolades, The Order of Isabella the Catholic from His Majesty the King of Spain Juan Carlos I. She also received the Design Prize Best System Award in 2003, the Good Design Award for Lighting in 2004 and the Red Dot Design Award in 2005.

She won the title of “Designer of the decade” (2000-2010) by two German magazines, Home and Häuser, and also that of “Designer of the year” according to Wallpaper (2006), Ad Spagna (2008), Elle Decor International (2003 , 2005, 2007 and 2008) and Architektur und Wohnen Magazine. In 2015 she was the ambassador of the Milan Expo. In the same year she was also appointed artistic director of Cassina.



For the 2017 Milan Furniture Fair, Patricia Urquiola took care of the preparation of Cassina 9.0. The unique event celebrated the brand’s 90 years of activity. Set in the spaces of the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation, the site-specific installation was compared with both the Herzog and Demeuron building, and with the historical legacy of the brand. The environments were characterized by the omnipresent pink and the disruption wall, a metaphor for breakage as an opportunity for change. In fact, a permeable and transparent barrier cuts the installation diagonally, the same geometry of the Herzog & Demeuron building.

Mame Design: Patricia Urquiola, la regina del colore. Allestimento per Cassina alla Fondazione Feltrinelli, FuoriSalone 2017

Installation for Cassina at the Feltrinelli Foundation, FuoriSalone 2017

FuoriSalone 2018

In the Milan Design week 2018 Patricia Urquiola was present in the Ventura Centrale / Ventura Future district. The headquarters was FuturDome, the former meeting point of the Futurist movement, the former Faculty of Pharmacy and the Lofts in via Donatello 36. In this District, the Spanish designer presented two new collections and a caspsule collection of marble objects for Editions Milano. It was unique, full of colours and Joie de vivre.


Nature Morte Vivante is a retrospective of Patricia Urquiola’s design, at the Madrid Design Festival 2020. The non-chronological exhibition focused on her industrial and artisanal production. The pieces were gathered around five still lifes, recurring themes in her line of work and mentality.


Nature morte Vivante

The exhibition was divided into five parts: Cosas transparentes (transparent things), a collection of objects significant in her career, which connects past and future; Viajes empáticos (empathic journeys) focuses on the inspiration from real and imaginary journeys; Resistencias (resistances) presents projects that make you think; questions are unleashed in the Gender? What gender? chapter; Positive pollination in the creative process reflects in Contaminaciones (contaminations).