Time for a little debate…
Looking at the geometric, structured and architectural style of the chairs below, which have made Patricia Urquiola’s designs iconic and celebrated, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there were common characteristics between them. However, the Spanish architect and designer insists that ‘that is not my way of working.’
She’s told design journalists that she doesn’t have ‘a fixed approach; I enter each project very freely and open-minded’. Having been put in my corrected-place (or uniquely designed chair, perhaps?), I thought I’d delve further.
Let’s start with the most incarnation of her chair design, shall we? Her Comback Chair for Kartell (2010):
Image credit: Designboom.com
Clean, linear lines; a strong, bold structure; iconic yet practical. The wooden back rest, arms, and all round style of the Comback Chair are evidently inspired by the classic Windsor chair designed back in the 17th century.
I love how she’s combined historical, established design with a modern twist and high gloss finish. This will surely be another winner for her and Kartell.
In 2009 she produced her Crinoline collection for B&B Italia:
The influence of architecture is strong within her work. The domed legs and well seat look impressive and the polyethylene weave is a distinctive Urquiola trait. The floral and circular detail adds contrast and is truly beautiful too.
2008 saw my favourite, her Tropicalia Seating Collection for Moroso, being showed at The Milan Furniture Fair that year:
I love the plaiting of colours here. This is definitely on my wish-list, piled with cushions and a glass of wine. More contemporary geometry, which brought a fresh look to conventional plaiting, can be seen in her Kettal Maia Collection, also produced in 2008:
See also her Pavo Real Armchair (2007) and the Flo Collection, both for Driade (2004). Even though I’ve barely touched on her vast range of furniture, these chairs are a great visual example of her work and its development during the noughties:
Pavo Real for Driade, above
Flo for Driade, above
I may have contradicted her rejection of the idea that she works with common denominators but I didn’t set out to do that. Indeed, that may not be her way of working (obviously she knows), as ideas, textiles and style are different to the process.
And I’m certainly not trying to antagonise her designs. On the contrary, we should all celebrate the apparent progression of them and the iconic Urquiola-signature-style that seems to emanate from the sample of chairs, above. Am I wrong?
And what does it matter? I love them anyway – her continuous exploration of ergonomics, shape, texture and fabric is fascinating. Viewed over the years, you can really see this and how her chairs have developed. Anyway, isn’t beauty all in the eye of the beholder (or rather, the sitter!)?
Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts below…
Ellie was mydeco.com's fabulous Editor for three years, and is now off exploring South America. Read more posts by Ellie.