Panoramic ViewThe Vitra Design Museum presents Konstantin Grcic
Over more than two decades Konstantin Grcic has been firmly established in the design scene – Vitra Design Museum now dedicates the biggest ever exhibition to the Munich designer's works.
Konstantin Grcic is considered one of the most important contemporary designers of our time and since the opening of his office KGID in 1991 Grcic has been captivating the design world with his impressive designs and frequently awarded works for international furniture manufacturers. The 49-year-old product designer's unmistakable hallmark re-interprets well-established shapes. His creativity critically scrutinizes form and function – creating exciting designs of an aesthetically appealing form. Many of his works, such as the cone-shaped lamp "Mayday" or the legendary "Chair One" made of aluminum among others, are already regarded as design classics today.
Vitra Design Museum in Weil on the Rhine is now dedicating a comprehensive solo exhibition to Grcic, presenting not only his countless design drafts but also many extensive installations. Under the title "Panoarama", Grcic divides his exhibition into different sections in which he demonstrates his visions of tomorrow's life: a residential environment, a design studio and an urban space. A forth section gives the visitor personal insight into Grcic's everyday work life – surrounded by drawings, prototypes or finds which inspired the designer. Therefore objects of other designers and artists, such as Marcel Duchamp, Gerrit Rietveld or Enzo Mari, that have had a bearing on Grcic's work, will also be on display. For three years Grcic has been preparing the exhibition in order to make the visitor gain access to his personal artistic visions and ideas.
Grcic talks with Vitra Design Museum curator Janna Lipsky about his thoughts on the exhibition and his personal paragons:
The exhibition »Panorama« presents your work to date, but also ventures a look into the future of design. How did this project come about?
I was never interested in a classic presentation of works. Instead, I wanted to understand the exhibition as an independent work, as a design project. In dialogue with Mateo Kries, it was decided that the show should involve a discourse on the future. As an industrial designer this isn’t all that unusual, but the exhibition provided an opportunity for a much more programmatic and comprehensive investigation of the theme. The show could become an expression of my personal view of the future.
Why did you aspire to become a designer?
In the 1980s, I apprenticed as a cabinetmaker in England. At the time, my sister was living in Vienna, where a retrospective was being shown on Achille Castiglioni. I wasn’t familiar with Castiglioni but my sister sent me the exhibition catalogue, which really made an impression on me. The catalogue not only covered his works but also Castiglioni as a person. He was already quite old but still so curious and spry! At the time, I was thinking about what I wanted to do. I believe people not only need to find something that interests them, but also role models. Castiglioni was such a person for me and it suddenly clicked that I could become a designer.
You then studied design at the Royal College of Art in London and founded your own practice KGID in Munich. In your studio, you surround yourself with many found artefacts and design and art objects. What significance do these objects have for you?
I’ll start with a teapot made of tin, which I bought when I moved from England to Munich. That’s basically the beginning of my studio right there. I love this thing and still use it every day. Then the chair I’m sitting in, it’s the Box Chair by Enzo Mari. I often find myself marvelling at this chair, the way its form and design are so extremely defined by its directness and pragmatism. Then there’s this poster for a Marcel Duchamp exhibition from the 1960s. It’s simply a very beautiful poster that stands for an art movement – a conceptual, radical and highly intellectual one.
The exhibition is open from 21 March to 14 September. Tip: combine a visit to the Vitra Museum with a trip to Art Basel from 19 to 22 June.