Featured Designer: Patricia Urquiola

12 Aug

Patricia Urquiola is a Spanish designer-architect who currently works in Milan. She attended the faculty of architecture at Madrid Polytechnic were she graduated in 1989 having done a thesis with THE Achille Castiglioni.

Early on her career, between being an assistant lecturer to Castiglioni, working for the product development office of De Padova with none other than Vico Magistretti, and engaging in architectural design, she later made a name of her own with her shrewd commercial thinking and creativity. Urquiola is even called by the press as “Hurricane Patricia” because of the way she has stormed through the design scene for years now.

Flower armchair by Vico Magistretti with Patricia Urquiola for Depadova, 1996

Fjord armchair and foot stool, for moroso, 2002

Clip bed for Molteni, 2003

In 2001 she opened her own studio, working on product design, architecture, installations and concept creation. Patricia Urquiola is best known for her many pieces for Moroso.

Antibodi chaise longue for Moroso, 2006

Antibodi chair for Moroso, 2006

Tropicalia chaise lounge for Moroso, 2008

Tropicalia chair for Moroso, 2008

Tropicalia chair for Moroso, 2008

Her products were selected for the Italian Design 2001 exhibition and for the International Design Yearbook 1999 and 2001. She also won numerous awards such as the Red Dot, IMM Cologne, and is dubbed as the “Designer of the Decade” by European interior design magazines.

Canasta for B&B Italia, 2008

‘Canasta’ is the Spanish word for basket

The seating pieces are woven from 30mm wide polyethylene plastic fibres in bronze and white, while the tables are made from varnished steel topped with ceramic tiles.

Urquiola‘s clients include, among others, Agape, Alessi, Artelano, Axor, B&B Italia, Bisazza, BMW, Bosa, De Padova, Driade, Salvatore Ferragamo, Flos, Foscarini, Kartell, Kvadrat, MDF Italia, Molteni, Moroso and Panasonic.

Crinoline armchair for B&B Italia, 2008

Crinoline highback chair for B&B Italia, 2008

Soft, perfectly proportioned, and recognizably feminine… that is Urquiola’s signature.

Volant collection for Moroso, 2007

Foliage sofa for kartell, 2011

Patricia also likes to add a bit of extravagance and bohemia in her designs, as seen in the patterns, ornaments, craftsmanship and textures in her works.

Nub chair & sofa for Andreu World, 2011

Nub chair & sofa for Andreu World, 2011

“It is something emotional, other times something very simple and quite trivial that gives me the idea. For me, design is a surprising process. You have an idea and mix it up with other ingredients, but you never know what’s going to come out in the end.” –Patricia Urquiola

Why Didn’t I Thought of That?: Pressed Chair

19 Jan

A design classic is born. London designer Harry Thaler just won first place in the [D3] Contest, a design competition for young designers, with his design aptly named c.

The chair is made from a 2.5mm-thick aluminium sheet with a relief pressed into the surface, which provides structural strength once the legs are bent into place.

Here’s the word of the designer himself:

Pressed Chair is a pressed aluminium chair which has been bent into shape to form a super-light, stackable chair.

I wanted to create an elegant and simple chair from a single sheet of 2.5mm aluminium. By pressing structural elements into the 2 dimensional sheet, I was able to make a chair that pushes the limits of minimization and material. The chair, which is light enough to be lifted with only two fingers, is extremely strong without any external structural support. Instead decorative features pressed into the sheet provide the required strength once the chair is bent into shape.

As part of my aim to minimize everything, I have also created a stool from the areas of scrap surrounding the chair when it is being cut. The stool, unlike the chair, is not made from 1 piece, but three. It is held together by screws.

Now that’s what we call aluminum roadkill!

Featured Designer: Hella Jongerius

17 Jan

Even before Etsy and all the patchworks and handmades boomed, there was Hella Jongerius. Hella (1963) is from De Meeren, Holland and studied at the Academy for Industrial Design at Eindhoven. She firstly gained design fame as one of the members of the renowned Dutch design group Droog Design.

Soft Urn

Folded Washtub

Felt Stool

In 2000, she started on her own with the company name ‘JongeriusLab’, a Rotterdam-based company. There, she continues to make a highly unique collection of products including ceramics, textiles, tableware, and furniture.

Animal Bowls

Porcupine Desk

Embroidered Tablecloth

Frog Table

Her works deliberately show the traces of how they were made, embracing imperfections, “humanizing” the usual cold mass-manufactured products, and her trademark style of fusing industry and craft, high-tech and low-tech, traditional and the contemporary.


Repeat Sofa


Polder Sofa

Detail of Polder Sofa

Davy Jones will Love this: The Octopus Chair

16 Jan

Yes, believe it or not, this is a chair by Spanish artist Maximo Riera, who probably had a dose of The Pirates of the Caribbean before having this eureka moment. Riera used a precise sculptural technique called CNC (computer numerical control) and compressed foam to get the look he wanted with the help of more than thirty professionals.Octopus Chaircomes in limited edition and is finished entirely by hand.

This chair is an offspring of Riera’s idea a to create a series of chairs all inspired by animals (The Animal Chairs) consisting of more than 15 different pieces. He started his project three years ago and it was finally completed in October 2010.

This chair is perfect for your home… that is if it’s a museum or a theme park. This chair wasn’t intended to be a utilitarian object on the first place but as a piece of art. And by the way we all got awed and creeped out by this work, Riera did a great job. Everyone’s curious though on what the other pieces from his Animal Chairs collection look like. That includes a rhino, lion, whale, beetle,walrus and a lot more according to his website. Now that makes Simba excited!

Why Didn’t I Thought of That?: The Dtile System

16 Jan

Just when we are used with tiles as mere covers for our bathrooms & kitchens, Dutch designers Peter Van Der Jagt, Erik Jan Kwakkel, and Arnout Visser of the Studio Dtile came up with the Dtile System. It’s so brilliant yet so simple that we’ll ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I thought of that before?”.

“The Dtile System is an integrative collection of tiles designed  for the seamless blanketing of spaces and objects,  with as much of an eye towards practicality as towards aesthetics.”

Rounded, seamless edges replace the usual hard, angled corners

Gaskets, stove controls & hangers are integrated into Dtile.


Detail of the genius.

Indented Dtiles give space to snuggly fit a chopping board, ‘Magnetic Dtiles’ serve as knife holders, and Dtiles on the right perfectly hold a cookbook

Integrated Dtile Dish Drying Rack


Ceramic pots bulit-in directly at Dtiles


Dtile mortar. Perfection.


Dtile Chalkboard (see the integrated chalk holder)

I’m gonna die.