I adore deflating the pretensions of many contemporary designers, mostly because I love being the kid who cries out that the king has plastic sofa covers. The truth stings, and feelings can be hurt; but it’s the sort of hurt that the doctor gives when administering a cure (if I may be so bold). No one is doing anyone any favors by permitting bad design to perpetuate via insincere praise, thereby letting the gangrene spread throughout. – And, in some cases, we are plainly just being defrauded, so the more hurt we administer to the scam-ARTIST, the better. Good riddance, scumbags!
In tossing out all that useless sand and dross, we uncover the true nuggets of gold. And, Ms. Patricia Urquiola is one such lovely dollop of sterling 24 carat gold. She distinguishes herself not just by the quality of her work, but by the dependable prolificacy of her work. Too many ‘one hit wonders’ in the design world! Rarely, do we see designers whose output impresses time and again, year after year.
Ms. Urquiola’s talents were manifest and recognized from the get-go, as she was appointed assistant professor by her own teachers immediately upon graduation, and not just any old teachers, but those among of the giants of Spanish & Italian design, including Achille Castiglioni and Eugenio Bettinelli. One of her first professional jobs was a joint project with Vico Magistretti. Her academic and professional pedigree had already become quite prodigious before she had even really got started making a name for herself. From about 2001 onward, she has produced one Homeric home-run after another, and in 2011, she shows no signs of slowing down. A true force of nature, this woman!
Two things I like most about Ms. Urquiola’s works. First, she correctly utilizes an existing design idiom and grammar through which to express her creativity. Neophyte designers (and older, dumbshit designers) typically make the (narcissistic) mistake of thinking the world of design was born anew the second they turned their attention to it, and so they crap out meaningless rubbish, usually laughable extremisms of some sort. The mistake is to think that creativity doesn’t depend on a bedrock of convention. You can’t be creative with meaning itself, for all you’d yield is nonsense. The truly significant designers always begin with the humble realization that they are about to join a venerable and ancient conversation, and they choose their words carefully. Many of Ms. Urquiola’s pieces draw most obviously on the design vernacular of the 1950′s – 1970s, and less obviously on much older design idolects. The results make for a fantastically innovative coup! – Moreover, because we ‘get’ her pieces, we therefore know how to integrate them into an existing interior design scheme. Her pieces are actually useful and enjoyable!
The second thing I love about Ms. Urquiola’s works are the bright, happy, unbearable-lightness-of-being feelings they bring. Not ironic! Not self-consciously self-possessed! Just easy-going and cheerful. What a fucking refreshing breeze into an otherwise stifling world of snarky, humorless, finger-sniffing killjoy designer-’artists.’ Thank you, Patricia! Thank you! Great design, playful buoyancy, and even an occasional peppering of sensualism, all delivered with dignified execution and prudence in measure.
Biknit: Alice-in-Wonderland-ish tiny craft project re-proportioned into a comfy chaise. The standout feature is the cloud of uber-puffy braids, but the tinted fat-wireframe and hearth-warming wood sleigh base add importantly
wood: primeval forest, natural, hearth & home, folksy, craftsy, elemental, warmth, polychromatic,