In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal (which labeled him the ‘quiet superstar of industrial style’), the German-born designer Konstantin Grcic referred to fellow designer Philippe Starck as the Madonna of the design planet, meaning that Starck’s international popularity, like that of the singer, kept him from being accorded the credit he richly deserved. Thankfully, Grcic, whose client list includes major design companies FLOS and Emeco, has no such issue.
Strong proof of Grcic having ascended from the ranks of noteworthy designer to complete-fledged star is the existing retrospective of his work at the Vitra Design and style Museum on the outskirts of Basel. There, Konstantin Grcic: Panorama, which opened this week, and runs by means of September, offers the 1st such showcase for Grcic’s prolific output, like the style for which he’s best known (and which graces the show’s catalog): Chair A single by Magis, introduced in 2004, and swiftly snapped up by the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou for their permanent collections.
Characterized by an airy, net-like aluminum seat and back—”more void than strong”—Chair 1 was a technological breakthrough that needed 4 years of investigation and material experimentation—preoccupations that have emerged as Grcic trademarks. “This was possibly the 1st time ever that such a massive die-cast was utilized for making a chair. Generally this technologies is employed for smaller elements only. It involved a lot of heavy tooling. I decided to break up surfaces into thin sections like branches and let the material flow by means of the mold to generate the shape, which is type of like a basket or a grid, and very 3-dimensional.”
But maybe most revealing of Grcic’s method to design and style is the fact that Chair One particular (like Stool 1) is, contrary to its sharp-edged very good looks, supremely comfortable, also. “People had been actually kind of stunned,” he reveals. “They didn’t think it was a chair one could really sit on.”