“When I went to Madrid to study architecture, you had to experiment—it was not enough to just be an architect,” says Patricia Urquiola, the Spanish designer recognised for a meteoric rise that saw her break into a male-dominated industry as both an architect and product designer. “When I arrived in Milan I had that attitude. On the surface I was a nice girl doing her homework but actually, I was not so gentle.” Known for her bright, poetic furniture forms, Urquiola is captured in her Milanese apartment surrounded by her collaborative works with Flos, Alessi and B&B Italia.
Her approach pays scant attention to the boundaries of traditional practices. “I feel more Milanese than Italian, but still absolutely connected to my Spanish roots,” says the non-conforming creative, whose mentors include her long-term teacher at the Politecnico di Milano, industrial designer Achille Castiglione, and Vico Magistretti, the godfather of modern Italian design. “Being a designer or being an architect, it’s a continuum.”