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A talk with Patricia Urquiola

Photography by Piergiorgio Sorgetti

On the occasion of Milan Design Week 2023, Mutina and Patricia Urquiola have worked together on three new collections: the surfaces Mater and Chamotte, presented at Casa Mutina Milano through a display especially developed for the occasion, and the three-dimensional element Jali, used to create an exceptional installation within Nilufar Depot. The designer revealed the sources of inspiration and the behind the scene of her collaboration with the company.

A talk with Patricia Urquiola
A talk with Patricia Urquiola
A talk with Patricia Urquiola

On the occasion of Milan Design Week 2023, you have realised three new projects in collaboration with the brand: Mater, Chamotte and Jali. What’s the common thread between the collections?

They are projects made of pure colour and bright glazes, with a strong artisanal feeling. Though they are very different collections, Mater, Chamotte and Jali present complex surfaces, tactile yet comfortable to both the eye and touch. A tribute to ceramic crafts, as well as the expression of new sophisticated technologies to work with the material.

Where did Mater came from? What kind of research did you bring forward on glazes and, especially, on the application technique?

Mater was inspired by the tiles in Mutina’s offices. Massimo and I have been obsessed for years by those elements, they have been with us during every product review. It was a positive obsession, that spurred us to find the right technology for an industrial collection which speaks about craftsmanship.

On the other hand, what can you tell us about Chamotte?

The collection takes its name from the raw material made of crushed ceramic fragments, embedded in raw clay to strengthen ceramic mixtures. With Chamotte, I wanted to deepen into the brutal and natural beauty of this material, made of tactile and chromatic vibrations, and irregular brushstrokes. I really like that the texture of the elements changes constantly, revealing a new aspect every time. It has an incredible expressive power.

What’s the essence of Jali, the new three-dimensional element? Where did you take inspiration for this project?

Jali draws inspiration from the perforated stones typical of Indian architecture, decorated with floral or geometrical motifs, often used as parapets or partition walls for shade or to let the wind through. Since the sides of the bricks are all of the same size, they can be placed both vertically and horizontally, either in line or staggered positions. Jali allows for the creation of dynamic filters, architectural elements, as well as furnishings such as table legs and columns.

Your first collaboration and, therefore, your first encounter with Mutina date back to 2008. How did the friendship and collaboration with the company develop?

I like to describe it as a journey full of empathy and change. Massimo and I have an amazing friendship, we share a great passion for our work and we always set ever greater goals. Of course, we don’t forget to have fun.

How did your personal approach to the ceramic material change throughout these years?

As I said in the past, to me working with ceramics is like a marathon, with 100-meter races, high jump and long jump competitions in the middle. It requires patience, a lot of imagination, critic and self-critic. Ceramic is a versatile material, adaptable and extremely resistant. It’s a material with which you can experiment a lot and do so much research, as well as working with technology and processes in order to improve them.

“A tribute to ceramic crafts, as well as the expression of new sophisticated technologies to work with the material.”

A talk with Patricia Urquiola
A talk with Patricia Urquiola

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