After Chasen, the famous suspension light designed for FLOS in 2007, the East was once again Patricia Urquiola’s source of inspiration in the creative genesis of Tatou.
“Tatou began life as a luminaire that crosses a traditional dome style with a surface that is interpreted through a creative language to screen and let the light filter through from inside. The first prototypes were suspension models, but they immediately bred into a family. Development in various sizes and situations in the domestic environment came naturally. The process began by looking for different ways to reconstruct membranes, conceived like Japanese armour: a series of metal buckles cleverly united by tapes with a powerful emotional value. There was then a process of simplification into overlapping, perforated, vertical bands riveted together. We translated the design into a mass production process by transitioning to injection moulding. The overlapping of these bands has been crystallised in three-dimensional leather, a variable section mould and by the geometric pattern. With Flos, the challenge was to obtain a mass produced product, while retaining strong artisan connotations. Tatou is French for armadillo: the mammal famous for its structure made up of plates of bone covered with a protective layer of horn. ‘Tatou’ has an emotional sound to it, which I think is consistent with the emotional function of this object.” Patricia Urquiola
Classic antique Japanese armour becomes a model of resistance and strength, but also of dynamism, lightness and flexibility. Hence the idea of a luminaire made up of four identical elements, interwoven to form a unified dome which diffuses direct light either upwards or downwards, as well as allowing light to pass through and discretely out of it, so creating a harmonic play on light and shadow through the pattern’s perforated sections.
The name Tatou is the French word for ‘armadillo’, the surprising mammal with a horny protective shell. Likewise, Tatou’s shell protects against annoying direct light in your eyes, but at the same time it is slender and light. Tatou is presented in floor, table and suspension models, in two different sizes and three finishes: white, black or plum dome, combined with a base that is white, black or metallic in shades of pink. × > Tatou began life as a luminaire that crosses a traditional dome style with a surface that is interpreted through a creative language to screen and let the light filter through from inside.—Patricia Urquiola
Patricia Urquiola was born in Oviedo, Spain and now lives and works in Milan.
She attended the faculty of architecture of the Madrid Polytechnic and the Milan, Polytechnic graduating with Achille Castiglioni.
She collaborated with Achille Castiglioni, Vico Magistretti and Piero Lissoni before opening her own studio in Milan in 2001 working on product design, architecture, interiors, installations and concept creation.
She has been selected and has won various prizes among others the International Design Yearbook, IMM Cologne, Good Design Awards of the Chicago Athenaeum, Red Dot Award, Elle Decoration International Awards. She has been nominated designer of the year for Elle Decoration International Design Awards, Wallpaper magazine, AD Spain, Maison & Object Paris, A&W Germany, Interior Design Hall of Fame.
She has received from the Spanish Government and the King of Spain the Gold Medal of Fine Arts and the Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic. Her products are present in the permanent collection of various museums among others MoMA NY and Triennale Milano.
She designs among others for Alessi, Axor, B&B Italia, Flos, Four Seasons, Kartell, Mandarin Oriental Hotels, Molteni, Moroso, Mutina, Rosenthal, W Hotels.