For Konstantin Grcic, “design is not just a skill, but an attitude—a very critical attitude that questions things.” By marrying an industrial aesthetic with experimental elements, his understated designs showcase intelligence and humour in equal measures, as well as a passion for technology and materials.
“I’m interested in exploring a new grammar: the culture of objects and furniture and how it relates to changes in society,” he says. “With society changing so much today, we can find new typologies and ways of making furniture. That’s what I find extremely exciting.”
(Related: How Do You Design To Shape A Better World?)
Born in 1965 in Munich, Grcic was raised in the industrial city of Wuppertal, known for its textiles in the 19th century. Grcic was also heavily influenced by his mother’s work as a gallerist. “As a kid, I felt that artists had an incredible privilege in that they combined work and life. That’s something I’ve always wanted: to make work part of my life and not have a separation between the two,” says Grcic.
In 1991, Grcic established his eponymous practice in Munich, where he works today on 10 to 15 projects at any given time. Together with his team of five, he creates furniture, products and lighting for the likes of Cappellini, Cassina, Emeco, Established & Sons, Flos, Moroso, Muji and Vitra.
Take a look at some of his most iconic pieces here:
Magis Chair One
Over the course of his career, Grcic's most fruitful collaboration has been with Magis; the Chair One was the first product he designed for the brand in 2003. Like a football, the shell is a structure of flat geometric shapes that connect along the edges. It is available in two versions: a stackable chair in polished, anodised or painted aluminium, or a fixed or swivel chair with a cement base that enhances its rough texture, evoking contemporary art and architecture.
The cartoon-like easy armchair on four stilt legs made from rotational-moulded polyethylene features a gently-suspended seat shell and an oversized armrest and backrest resembling a giant horseshoe, which provide comfort and support. Existing in four different colours, it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
The three-legged swivel barstool reimagines the classic workshop stool. The stylistic contrast between the beautiful solid beech wood and the plastic of the smooth-running, easily-adjustable mechanical parts makes it a highly-versatile product, appropriate for use in a wide range of private and public spaces.
Flos Mayday Lamp
Named after the famous last words before the Titanic sank, the portable lamp for all sorts of situations was designed to be a tool, with a practical handle incorporating an on/off switch, two spikes to wind up the five-metre-long cable and a big hook on the end of the handle for easy hanging. The large and robust polypropylene funnel giving off warm diffused light is at the same time a reflector and protector.
ClassiCon Ulisse Daybed
The elegant, slender daybed in the tradition of modernism with height-adjustable headboard at three settings was inspired by the classic designs of Charlotte Perriand and Eileen Gray. A symbol of relaxation and comfort, it comes with a frame in solid oak or walnut, natural or black-stained, with fabric or leather upholstery and metal components in solid brass.
Plank Remo Chair
The plywood chair unites Plank’s artisanal heritage and high-tech manufacturing technologies with a characteristic T-shaped backrest made possible thanks to an innovative interlocking joint that attaches the curved seat to the horizontal back rest. This two-piece construction results in an ultra-light yet sturdy shell that offers extreme comfort.
Featuring slats in anodised extruded aluminium, left pure or upholstered with BD fabrics or leather, and cast aluminium legs, the elegant bench is for public and domestic use, indoors or outdoors. With arms or without, it is available in various sizes, from a very short one-seater side chair to a long bench for eight people.
Read the full story in the June-July 2017 issue of Singapore Tatler Homes.