Patricia Urquiola talks personal taste: Part One

Spanish-born and Milan-based Patricia Urquiola is one of the world’s most revered furniture designers and architects

Patricia Urquiola in the Flos showroom, Milan
Patricia Urquiola in the Flos showroom, Milan | Image: Guido Castagnoli

My personal style signifier is a Céline luggage tote in navy leather and denim – it’s large enough to hold all my essentials and seems indestructible. When I’m in Milan I don’t have much time for fashion forays – if I’m not working, I’d rather be relaxing with my daughters, Sofia, seven, and Giulia, 17, so I tend to grab things as and when I find them. I spotted this when I was visiting my brother in Zurich. +331-4070 0703;

The last thing I bought and loved was a pair of black Prada patent ankle boots with a square toe and a little white trim. They’re super-comfortable and go with almost everything. +3902-7600 1426;

Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California 
Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California  | Image: Kodiak Greenwood

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a work for my new house by the German artist Thomas Demand, who builds 3-D room sets from cardboard and photographs them. I like his take on our perception of reality and the nature of ephemera – the sets are destroyed after he has shot them. It’s like looking at a half-remembered dream.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Big Sur in California. We stayed for a long weekend at the Post Ranch Inn, in a treehouse facing the Pacific. The huge horizon, the falcons overhead and the scale of the cliffs gave me a sense of the enormity of the natural world, while the beach reminded me of ones in Asturias in Spain, where I’m from. 47900 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920 (+888-524 4787;  


And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a pine cone from Big Sur, picked up and given to me by my friend [American architect] Jeanne Gang while we were out walking. It’s now on my desk.

The beauty staple I’m never without is Davines Authentic Moisturising Balm, which you can use on your face, body and hair – I appreciate multitasking products. £17.55 for 150ml;

Davines Authentic Moisturising Balm, £17.55 for 150ml 
Davines Authentic Moisturising Balm, £17.55 for 150ml 

The books on my bedside table are Patti Smith’s memoir of life in 1970s New York, Just Kids. The story of how she invented herself, and her relationships with icons of that era – in particular Robert Mapplethorpe – is fascinating. I’m also reading The Future Will Be, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist – he asks various figures from the art world to answer the question in the title.

A recent find is the Boros Collection in Berlin – a private art collection housed in a bunker built to protect civilians during the second world war. As well as the art – with pieces by Wolfgang Tillmans and Ai Weiwei – I like how the architects Jens Casper and Petra Petersson have integrated the collection within the private residence in an intelligent way. Sammlung Boros Bunker, Reinhardstrasse 20, 10117 Mitte, Berlin (+4930-2759 4065;

Just Kids by Patti Smith
Just Kids by Patti Smith

In my fridge you’ll always find the ingredients for a Caprese salad – so the best cuore di bue tomatoes and Vannulo mozzarella. Also, Fattoria Scaldasole organic yoghurt in different flavours, because everyone in the family seems to have his or her own favourite.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the Marais in Paris. The clothes and accessories in L’Eclaireur are exceptionally well edited. Then there’s Merci, the world’s chicest charity shop. And I always head for Acne – its pared-down interior contrasts so well with the area’s elaborate architecture, plus its jeans are the best. Acne Studios, 3 Rue Froissart, 75003 Paris (+331-4996 9691;’Eclaireur, 40 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris (+331-4527 0930; Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris (+331-4277 0033;

Tree by Ai Weiwei, in the Boros Collection, Berlin
Tree by Ai Weiwei, in the Boros Collection, Berlin | Image: Noshe

The last music I downloaded was Metals by the Canadian artist Feist. I love her style – almost folky, but with an edge.

My favourite websites are Stamen, for its interactive-design and data-visualisation projects; Ignant, an art site; and Haw-lin for image references. www.haw‑


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