Patricia Urquiola’s spiritual stainless steel collection
The Spanish designer’s new collection for Georg Jensen makes this simple material look remarkably luxurious
Stainless steel is a tough, utilitarian material, yet in the hands of a skilled designer, it can still look incredibly impressive. Patricia Urquiola, one of Spain’s most celebrated designers, has teamed up with the Danish company Georg Jensen to produce a range of tableware in this metal.
This is the first time that Urquiola has designed in this material, and she was given an open brief by the firm. “My imagination was generously allowed to run wild, but stainless steel is a new material for me,” says the Spanish-born, Milan-based designer, whose Italian client list includes Molteni&C, Cassina, Moroso, Boffi and B&B Italia.
Urquiola’s vivid imagination has resulted in Urkiola, a playful take on standard pieces such as jugs, bowls, vases, trays and candle holders.
Urkiola’s jugs are upside-down, and its vases tilt. Each piece comes in two versions: a simple stainless steel model, and a more expensive version covered in rose-gold, physical vapor deposition (PVD) plating; PVD processes deposit a thin, durable coating onto the steel surface.
Each piece has both smooth and ribbed surfaces, meaning Urkiola is pleasant to use, though apparently challenging to manufacture. “The difficult design underlined the great ability of Georg Jensen to work with the steel,” says the designer, whose early claims to fame include being assistant lecturer to the late designer extraordinaire Achille Castiglioni in Milan and Paris.
“The idea is to intersect two solids, to study a pattern to give the steel a new life,” says Urquiola. “A particular treatment gives the products a strong character and offers a new vision to the tableware.”
The ribbed surfaces were inspired by Georg Jensen’s classic Bernadotte cutlery range, designed by Sigvard Bernadotte in 1939. “The recent trend for designers working with stainless steel is to make the pieces feminine, fluid and organic,” Urquiola says. “I wasn’t interested in that. I wanted to do something more rigorous. More strict and severe. The ribbed sections give the pieces a strength – both physically and spiritually,” she believes.
Spiritual stainless steel? Now, there’s a new twist. For more on Urquiola’s mentor buy our Achille Castiglioni book here; for details of a Patricia Urquiola design you can make at home, buy our Do It Yourself interiors book here.