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|Born||1965 (age 53–54)|
|Known for||Functional designs, geometric shapes, simplicity and high tech materials|
|Chair_ONE, Mayday lamp, Muira stool|
Konstantin Grcic (born 1965) is a German industrial designer known for creating mass-manufactured items, such as furniture and household products. Described as having a pared down aesthetic, his functional designs are characterized by geometric shapes and unexpected angles.
As a child Grcic loved to build things and during high-school he restored furniture.
Grcic studied cabinetry making at the John Makepeace School in London, starting in 1985. Three years later, he took a class in furniture-design at London's Royal College of Art. Grcic worked with British designer Jasper Morrison in the late 1980s until 1990, when he began designing furniture for SCP, one of London's largest design stores. He credits his time in London for helping develop his individual style, describing "... his experiences in England as stirring his creative potential."
Grcic founded his studio, "Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design" (KGID), in 1991 in Munich, Germany. Working with a staff of five, he creates "... pieces that have been described as both revolutionary and intelligent." According to the New York Times, he has a "... rigorous focus on logic, utility and simplicity".
With an emphasis on usability, Grcic is known for having a spartan approach to design, relying on geometric forms, unusual angles and hard edges. He has created installations and developed products such as furniture, lighting, watches, tableware, espresso makers, and even umbrellas. Grcic became recognized for his 1995 Refolo trolley, 1997 Wanda dish rack, 1998 award-winning Mayday lamp, 1999 ES shelf and 2001 Chaos chair.
His iconic 2004 Chair_One and 2006 Miura stool are both described as being comfortable to sit on, despite their oddly shaped compositions. Grcic has a philosophical approach to design, especially when it comes to seating products, his favourite objects to tackle, "Designing chairs touches issues of society, how we live...How life changes - that’s most interesting.".
He has used cutting edge technology, such as high-tech ceramics and 3D modeling software, to create his mass-produced items. Advanced engineering plastics were the basis of his award-winning Myto Chair, launched at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2008. Grcic also relies on low-tech solutions to advance the design process, manually creating and deconstructing rough paper models. An engineering-oriented approach and extensive research make up his methodology, something attributed to his upbringing, "...his penchant for amassing large amounts of data before he starts to work is nothing if not German."
Exhibits and media
In 2009, the Chicago Art Institute held a retrospective of Grcic's work. Zoë Ryan, who curated the exhibit, states that the designer "is very mindful of how we interact with and use objects". In 2014, a Grcic exhibition of fictional products was showcased at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. His design pieces are also found in the permanent collections of the MoMA in New York City and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
In 2005, London's Phaidon Press published the first book examining Grcic’s body of work. Other publications include monographs accompanying his museum exhibitions. He is also the subject of various design books like "How to Design a Chair", as well as "Chroma: Design, Architecture and Art in Color" where he mentions how the Lego color palette has inspired him. A film about Grcic's developmental process was screened at "A Design Film Festival 2017" held in Singapore.
In 2009, Grcic curated an exhibition called "Design Real" at the Serpentine Gallery in London, England. He selected products with a practical function, from well known and lesser known designers, which reflected the first ten years of the millenium. In 2010, he curated two shows, one for France's "St. Etienne Design Biennale" and the other for the Istituto Svizzero (Swiss Institute) in Rome.
Grcic has also participated in design initiatives happening in Belgrade, Serbia, such as speaking at "Belgrade Design Week" or sitting on the juries of the "Mikser Festival" and the "University of Arts in Belgrade" final year competition. He briefly mentored Serbian designer Ana Kras, before she relocated to the United States. Concerning the burgeoning design scene in Serbia's capital city, Grcic has said,"I was not sure what to expect but I encountered a fantastic atmosphere and amazing people."
Awards and honours
In 2001, Grcic received a "Compasso d’Oro" award for his Mayday lamp. He won another "Compasso d’Oro" in 2011 for his Myto chair. He won two "Designpreis Deutschland" prizes, from the Government of Germany, for his Chair_ONE and Miura stool in 2006 and 2007 respectively. In 2006, his Miura stool also received a "Best of the Best" Red Dot award and an IF Design Award.
In 2010, Grcic was named "Designer of the Year" at Design Miami, where he also created an installation consisting of seating made with polypropylene netting. In 2016, Dezeen magazine listed him as number 14 on their list of top 100 designers, based on the 48 articles written about him. That same year he also received the "Best Designer of the Year" award at the Salone del Mobile in Milan.
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