Patricia Urquiola Talks Flexibility & Design

Q+A with Patricia Urquiola

During a recent Haworth Connect event, our Global Brand Director Kurt Vander Schuur hosted renowned architect and designer Patricia Urquiola. Part of the virtual presentation included a Q+A session, in which Kurt asked Patricia questions submitted by the event’s global audience.

KVS: You’ve talked about being an “amphibian.” Share your thoughts about this amphibian life and what we have to understand about being flexible.

PU: Amphibians know to live and move between different mediums. Perhaps this moment is making us think—and think deeper—about the possibilities of adapting to the digital side, but in the right way. We have to try. This webinar for me was the first time, and I have a bit of vulnerability in this moment, but this is OK. You have to be human, in this moment.

KVS: Life and work are becoming blended for most of us. How do you think of art as it relates to our life and work?

PU: The interrelation between different disciplines is one of the most important things. We need to rethink how we all are interrelated but different … especially in our relationships with plants and animals. Perhaps we can interact with many other disciplines and other communities.

KVS: What's your earliest memory of a space—anywhere in the world or at home—that inspired you?

PU: I was born in Asturias, in the north of Spain. I always say to my husband, who works with me, that if I get a bit depressed, “Take me to the seaside.” I always have this image of being young at the beach, but not getting a lot of sun because it's on the north Atlantic. It’s not about the sun, but all the other elements. This stretch of space, which is the sea and the Earth, also has a strong imprint of sound. It reminds me of Lake Michigan.

KVS: There's a human center to your design. Can you speak to how you feel the human side should always be a part of design?

PU: Human-centered design is all about having tools for living and how we can find a way to connect with others with these tools. It’s about our behavior. If you want to be a designer, you have to be curious, obviously. After that, you have to understand that it's all about being really interested in the way we live and what happens to us. We have to observe and think, and then read and study. It's a way to try to connect with others. The important thing is to relate to others and to think about others.

Patricia Urquiola is a Haworth design partner who lives and works in Milan where she runs Studio Urquiola. For more insights from Patricia, visit the Haworth Connect page to watch her video.

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