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Patricia Urquiola


When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

Since I was little I’ve always been inclined to take things apart and rebuild them, then decided at 18 years old that I wanted to be an architect. Once I moved to Milan, after having studied architecture in Madrid, I fell in love with Design at Achille Castiglioni’s course.

In your terms, what is artificial lighting?

It’s a means of interaction between people and architecture, a fundamental element of design. An instrument to improve the quality of a space.

Why do you like working with Flos?

Because it’s always been a dream, beginning with their relationship with Castiglioni. Then getting to know it from the inside, I’ve appreciated the collaboration with other designers, the dialogues that develop beyond the design, the courage to take risks and technological abilities. Call it an elective infinity.

What is the next object you would like to design?

A water purifier or a communication system that is not harmful to health and is totally intuitive.

ph. © Mattia Balsamini
Patricia with Achille Castiglioni
"Tatou is French for armadillo: the mammal famous for its structure made up of plates of bone covered with a protective layer of horn. ‘Tatou’ has an emotional sound to it, which I think is consistent with the emotional function of this object."
– Patricia Urquiola about Tatou Family

Is there a master of design, art, or music that you consider an inspiration for your work?

Vico Magistretti and Achille Castiglioni were fundamental, both on a professional and personal plane. From Magistretti I learned the courage to put myself to the test, to truly believe in myself as a designer. He was a true model of elegance and understatement: an example of how to go from one level to another, giving the fullest attention to every aspect of the creative process. Castiglioni taught me the value of design back when I still believed that architecture was a superior art – as well as the pleasure of envisioning an object. The irony, the fun, not taking yourself so seriously, even when you take what you’re doing very seriously.

Why is it that many of your designs seem to be clothing or jewelry?

It’s hard to say. I’ve been influenced by everything that surrounds me, high or low as it is. Analogies that were meaningful just to me. But more than anything I like doing research, looking for new technologies, new materials, even giving new life to materials and techniques of the past – to apply them in a way that makes sense, not just for the pleasure of doing it.

How many days of vacation do you take in a year?

I take enough as they’re often linked to the school breaks for my youngest daughter. Even if I hardly ever break away from work completely; my passions and my work often coincide. It’s not a burden to do research, it’s a pleasure. Time, in general, is the true luxury of my life.