Patrizia Moroso: comics, design, art and butterflies

Eclectic, intuitive, innovative. The story of an entrepreneur who likes to work on diversity, and in groups. Over the last twenty years, she has built a collection of iconic products

Travel, in the physical sense, but above all with the mind, sets the tone of the life and work of Patrizia Moroso. As a matter of fact, she sees the two types of journey as “the same thing.” A creative perpetual motion already inside her from birth, in Udine in the early 1950s, then in her schooling at DAMS, in a culturally vivacious period for the city of Bologna, all the way to her entry in the family business together with her brother in the mid-1980s. The same energy continues today, with boundless dynamism.

She describes it in her own words, with her usual enthusiasm, in a dialogue with Virginio Briatore, the founder together with Giulio Iacchetti of Design People Milano, the team that has organized a cycle of encounters to explore the world of design in the setting of the Milan Triennale.

Patrizia the ‘volcano’ traces back through the steps that have made her an outstanding figure on the international scene of design and artistic culture, a talent scout and a bearer of new signs and messages. A narrative in the tones of Friuli, terse, simple, cheerful, roaming through objects and passions in apparent extroverted disorder, an essential condition for brilliant insights.

ph. credits Alessandro Paderni
ph. credits Alessandro Paderni

The love of comics shared with companions of school and life like Igort and the artists of the Valvoline group led to the first collection of ‘unconventional’ upholstered furnishings, designed by her friend and comic artist Massimo Iosa Ghini.
Then her insatiable curiosity and desire to explore beyond the normal boundaries prompted collaboration with Javier Mariscal, a creative talent very close to the world of animation, with whom Moroso produced totally innovative forms, at the time, pieces like the Alessandra chair and the Saula Marina sofa, now on view in the permanent collections of museums like MoMA New York. Positive energy generates more of the same, as we know: it was Ron Arad who introduced Mariscal to Patrizia. With Arad design and experimentation become symbiotic, to the point of bordering on contemporary art: a blurry boundary between industrial workmanship and handicraft that shapes the material, plastic or metal, giving rise to unique biomorphic creations.

Only a different arrangement of things can lead to the new, and this is probably the vantage point that gives rise to Patrizia’s intuition. Which led her to offer an opportunity to design her very first products to a young Patrizia Urquiola, with whom over the years Moroso has developed a series of successful products, as well as an intense friendship. They travel together: from Scandinavia Fjord was the result, from Africa pieces that mix crafts and industry. Moroso now works with 44 international designers, including Tord Boontje and Tokujin Yoshioka, whose projects have contributed to the growth of an inimitable corporate reality. And of course she never gives up on old affections. Like the one for butterflies, seen in a collection of fabrics, “a symbolic insect, for its metamorphosis and transformation, which I love very much – she says – the result of a beauty that last but an instant, but is absolute.” Or the love of art, activating collaborations with artists for site-specific installations and creating, together with the curator Andrea Bruciati, a Moroso prize for contemporary art.