Patricia Urquiola on Designing for Longevity

We had the chance to meet Patricia Urquiola as she spoke about her Italian ceramic tiles for Mutina. She’s a warm and gracious person who talks very quickly and makes rapid little gestures with her hands. This intensity underscores her resolve to design things her way

Despite all of the emphasis on “new” collections at trade shows, Patricia stuck to her guns and continued to build on her previous Dechirer Collection of tiles for Mutina, releasing just one new addition to the line: a 4-millimeter-thin collection of laser-cut tiles that compliment the previous patterns in her porcelain stoneware line.

“People often compare my work to fashion,” she says. “I always say, no, my work has nothing to do with fashion. It’s not like something you’re going to wear for a short time. My tiles have to work for a long time. They have to be in the market for a long time.”

Like many designers, she seems uncomfortable with the idea of constantly populating the marketplace with new products for the sake of novelty. “I was fighting with them [Mutina] a lot on this point. I’m just waiting for them to ask me to do two collections a year,” she jokes.

The surfaces of her tiles—perforated, smooth, or covered in a thin layer of relief—beg you to run your fingers over them. This emphasize on texture is a trademark of her designs, and bleeds into all of her projects. “I’m very happy working with many layers, in many ways,” she says, “like the gardener that has lots of plants all going at once.”

For more information on Urquiola’s Dechirer collection for Mutina, click here.

Photos: Sarah Coffey (1-3), Mutina (4-5)