One of the unexpected aspects of the Design Indaba was the impact that the speakers personality made on my perception of their work. Some people did not make much impact. Others fascinated us from the beginning with their presence. Such a one was Patricia Urquiola :
From the first moment she charmed the audience with her seemingly chaotic and warm manner. Like Dai Fujiwara, her broken english helped her to express herself more forcefully than the native English speakers.
Her personality is reflected in her work. This chair, she says, was designed with a real human in mind. It was “no longer man and pipe”. Instead, she thought about how one actually sits in a chair: “You, the cat, the baby, your leg…” And so came the “chair as nest”:
image from hausmodernliving.com
This sofa reminded me of the Barberosgerby blanket sofa.
image from archtonic.com
It also has the same human focus and love of the comfort that the materials represent.
Patricia expressed her interest in craft and folk art. She draws inspiration from crafts like crochet as can be seen in this carpet, which she co-designed with Eliana Gerotto:
image from writeonandmore.wordpress.com
She also subverts the traditionally masculine world of corporate furniture design. Inspired by smocking, which is a way of gathering cloth usually found on baby clothing and maternity wear, she created this “smocking chair”:
image from cubeme.com
Patricia also picked up on the common thread among the speakers – that of collaboration and its challenges. When asked how she dealt with work partners who do not agree with her vision she answered: “Then we will have a strong, lovely, heavy conversation.”
For more about Patricia, you can read this designboom interview.