A Conversation with Designer Patricia Urquiola

Patricia Urquiola

Patricia Urquiola has designed a new lamp, the Tatou, that was introduced during the 2014 Salone del Mobile. We spoke with her about the idea behind the lamp, and her approach to design, life and her role as one of the most sought after women in the design world.

FLOS: Tell us a little about the lamp ("Tatou") that you designed for FLOS.

PU: This is a project that I have been really wanting to do, and I am so excited that we’ve come this far. It represents a bridge between a traditional hanging lamp, which resonates as a memory, and the contemporary lamps of today, made from plastic molds. The geometry is quite severe but the way the elements overlap, the lamp is also very textural. I hope it is a mix of memory that comes to you and goes: I hope it portrays a feeling of new nostalgia.

FLOS: Is this a common aim in all your projects?

PU: Not with everything, but at least a part of my projects, we try to move in those waters. We try to keep a balance between memory, technology and the contemporary, to result in something a little unexpected.

Tatou S

When you look at this lamp, you can expect classic quality, and then you see the sharp geometries and see it is not a classical styled lamp. You look inside and you don’t see a normal bulb. All these subtle messages are for me what are interesting, and feel very domestic. It gives you a kind of emotional attachment with the object or space.

FLOS: Are you conscious of the gender roles in design when you work?

PU: Me, I don’t feel defined by my gender. It’s so complex, but absolutely I think it’s an issue of sensibility. Sensibility exists both in men and women, in the same way. It’s very democratic.

I also think it is stupid to think that women are sensitive, absolutely stupid. What I think is important and feminine is to be open minded and to try to live a credible life. We, as women, are trying to be credible in our lives, on all different levels, in all different trajectories, personal and professional. I, as a woman try to live and work in the moment. But there are so many women doing this. I am not the only one.