Vienna straw, with its geometric decorative pattern, is the inspiration behind Canasta, the Spanish term for basket. Enlarged to macro proportions, the design is applied to armchairs with a striking effect, available with a high or low backrest. Both are characterised by polyethylene fibre ribbons woven onto a powder-coated aluminium frame. Classic in style but with a contemporary sense of plasticity, Canasta is a hyper-decorative collection, ideal for use at the edge of a swimming pool or in a luxuriant garden. In addition to armchairs, the family also includes sofas, tables, small tables, and other furnishings.
This was the first time that Patricia decided to design an ultra-decorative, handmade collection (“it takes four hours for two craftsmen to put the interlacing on the structure.”). It is (apparently) in contrast with the other B&B Italia products, which are strongly recognised for being pure examples of industrial design.
The inspiration? A wicker basket in the Far East: Patricia Urquiola started working on the weave of Canasta (basket in Spanish) while out in the Far East. To find the perfect weave, the designer reinterpreted the traditional design of the octagonal holes in Viennese cane, mixed two patterns to transform the product into the macro-pattern of Canasta and create a series of outdoor sofas that look classic but have contemporary adaptability. In fact, the play between classic and contemporary is not a new idea: the Viennese cane inspiration is retro, and the polyethylene texture speaks today’s language.
Patricia explains: “For me, Canasta is the image of a pattern. It doesn’t want to imitate nature. Even though a sort of crystallised natural pattern shows up in the tiles decorating the tables and accessories. Moreover, I designed enveloping shapes that give the idea of protection. And I studied new forms of ergonomics to satisfy every moment of a day spent outdoors.”
The result is a series of poetic but current objects: armchairs, sofas, round sofas, chairs, tables and complements that have become iconic pieces of contemporary design.
polyester powder painting
shaped polyurethane, cover in water repellent polyester fibre
polyester fibre, cover in water repellent polyester fibre
polyester on synthetic support
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Patricia Urquiola studied architecture and design at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and completed her studies at the Politecnico di Milano where she graduated under the mentorship of Achille Castiglioni. In Spain, she was awarded the Golden Medal for Merits in Art and received the Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic.
In 2001 she founded her own studio where she specialised in industrial product design, architecture (hotel trade, retail, homes, exhibitions and installations), art direction and strategy consulting. She works with important design companies and international groups, and is part of the advisory board of the Politecnico of Milan university and the Triennale Milano Design Museum. She taught the master’s degree in Interior Design at the Domus Academy in Milan (2013-2015) and has given lectures at prestigious international universities.
She has also given talks at countless cultural events and her work is exhibited in many art and design museums across the world, including the MOMA in New York, the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, the Triennale Museum in Milan, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, to name a few. She has been named Designer of the Year by many international magazines.