Patricia Urquiola is a member of the imm cologne Trend Board and was born in Oviedo, Spain and now lives and works in Milan. She attended the faculty of architecture at Madrid Polytechnic and Milan Polytechnic, from which she graduated in 1989 having completed her thesis with Achille Castiglioni.
In 2001 she opened her own studio, working on product design, architecture, installations and concept creation. In 2006 Koelnmesse invited Patricia Urquiola to build one of the ideal houses for imm cologne. 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.
During the imm cologne’s Trendboard workshop, you didn’t just name four of the most influential tendencies in interior design right now, you discussed other trends in the design scene as well. How much of it do you think is really important?
I think there is a new trend regarding the idea of what is innovative. Innovation was always primarily connected with the idea of industrial progress, i.e. with a more traditional idea. More and more, however, the term innovation is coming to be associated with values like sustainability and with what people really see as innovative – for instance if something is surprisingly intelligent or opens up new usage possibilities. People are paying more attention to how something is done and why it is done. More importance is being attached to the concept.
Will there be a paradigm shift?
The ideas of progress and innovation are still too strongly associated with material innovations and technologies. But after the crisis and all the global, local problems we’re facing, this idea of innovation is beginning to seem almost banal. In our post-industrial society, the idea of processing is coming to the fore: how things are made and why I’m going to use them.
Do you think sustainability is going to play a decisive role?
The value of innovation is going to be related more to sustainability, and by that I mean all different kinds of sustainability. You can be sustainable in the sense that you work with the emotional characteristics of a product and think about how something can become a vintage piece, or maybe about whether I as a consumer shouldn’t opt for a vintage piece when I need something new. It’s important to understand this kind of attitude too. On the other hand there are people who only want to buy products that have been made with energy-saving production methods.
Will the consumer be exerting more influence on industrial production?
There will be more and more questions from consumers. They will be more interested in how something has been produced and what happens to the product in the end. And of course there might be products that are manufactured in a sustainable way – maybe even out of recycled materials – but just aren’t interesting enough to make it. Whatever else a product like that has to offer, people just won’t accept it.
So you mean that if everything revolves around new technologies and materials, the sustainability debate might end up ignoring people’s needs?
Only ever getting excited about new technologies and all these super, fantastic new products is too one-sided. The requirements are more complex. Basically, we could have restricted our workshop discussions to just one trend – thinking about what’s really innovative for people right now. We need to understand that today there are many different ways people can think something is innovative. Sometimes a new interpretation of something old or a particularly simple and intelligent manufacturing method is far more innovative than a new material or an innovative technology. The idea of innovation is changing. For me, it’s closely related to people’s needs and the way we use things.
26. October 2010
Categories: Designers in Dialogue, Innovation, Interior Trends 2011, top designers, Trends
Tags: Agape, Alessi, architecture, Artelano, Axor, B&B Italia, Bisazza, BMW, Bosa, De Padova, Driade, Flos, Foscarini, imm cologne 2011, innovation, interior design, interview, Kartell, Kvadrat, MDF Italia, Molteni, Moroso, Panasonic, Patricia Urquiola, product design, Salvatore Ferragamo, sustainability, Trend Book, Trendboard, Trends