Patricia Urquiola is a titan in contemporary design and architecture, fusing a distinctive aesthetic with innovative crafting techniques and materials.
Having ample experience in engineering the architecture for grand projects such as the extension of Barcelona’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel and ambitious retail spaces, Patricia Urquiola has been crowned with multiple honours including being awarded the Order of Isabella the Catholic by Spanish King Juan Carlos I for her contribution to the arts.
Amongst her portfolio is a collection of modern designs crafted in collaboration with design heavyweights B&B Italia, Missoni, Kvadrat and, of course, Haworth. These partnerships have won numerous accolades such as IMM Cologne’s Interior Innovation Award, the German Design Award, multiple Red Dot Design Awards, and, for her work with Haworth, the Best of NeoCon accolade, and the Gold Award for Systems.
Urquiola’s collaboration with Haworth produced the Openest Collection – a modular series of innovative workplace solutions. The four core arms of the line are playfully named Feather, Chick, Plume and Sprig, drawing on the collection’s name and concept of creating a cozy ‘nest’, that is simultaneously accessible and expandable.
With a textural and tactile focus, the collection focuses on the idea of, “flexibility mixed with the idea of comfort—creating more kinds of comfort zones. people, when they arrive at work”.
For Urquiola, the use of high quality materials with a practical purpose is key, so the design of the Openest Collection incorporates soft fabrics for the Feather Sofa and the Chick Armchair/Pouf hybrid to suggest comfort and relaxation, while the Sprig tables show off their unadorned timber composition.
On the flexible plume screens, Urquiola says, “I wanted to have a sandwich from one material. When you need to dismantle the piece, everything is polyester, which is recycled material. The other screen can have different kinds of fabrics, but in the end, they’re always just one material.”
In her design work, Urquiola is continually pushing the envelope, “Design is a discipline, which is especially connected with society. And in the moment that society is in evolution or involution, the design follows that. We will have many other ways to sit for work, to speak, to sleep. We will have many new ways to eat. Things are going to evolve every day because we are evolving in society.”