Born in 1965 in Munich, Grcic moved to the UK and studied cabinet-making at Parnham College, in England, from 1985-1987, then industrial design at the Royal College of Art, London.
In 1991, he returned to Munich and opened his own studio, Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (KGID).
The same year, British company SCP put his first pieces into production – the timber ‘Tom Tom’ and ‘Tam Tam’ tables (which were reissued this year at Milan) and the ‘Bishop’ trestle legs.
In 1992, Cappellini produced the ‘Satellite’ table in tubular steel based on Grcic’s diploma project from the RCA. The following year, he designed the ‘Start’ for Cappellini, a simple metal chair revealing his admiration for the industrial furniture of Jean Prouvé. This theme was revisited in 2002 with his metal ‘Diana’ and ‘Pallas’ tables for ClassiCon.
While furniture is a large part of the KGID portfolio, so are everyday objects. Grcic enjoys rethinking their design and is drawn to the high-volume production processes required.
His ‘Mayday’ multifunctional lamp for Flos is found not only in ‘designer’ interiors but also in kids’ rooms, studios and workshops. It won the prestigious Compasso d’Oro award in 2001.
In 2002, Moroso commissioned Grcic to create a computer-based concept design without manufacturing guidelines. This unusually open brief, where design came before materials, freed Grcic to create the Osorom seat (Moroso backwards to reflect his working method).
After the mammoth success of the ‘Chair_One’ for Magis in 2004, Grcic was concerned that he could be pigeonholed as an ‘angular’ designer, so he created the ‘Miura’ bar stool. Ironically, its soft, branch-like legs were totally designed by CAD (Computer Aided Design), with a prototype made using laser-sintering technology (“a kind of 3D printer”).
Equally hi-tech was his ‘Myto’ chair produced from BASF Ultrador High Speed (a fluid but high-strength plastic that allows the design to be moulded in one piece – including its mesh seat).
In dramatic contrast is Konstantin Grcic’s ‘43’, shown at Milan Furniture Fair. The cantilevered chair is made from 43 laminated bamboo slats and was developed with the Taiwan Design Centre, using traditional Asian craft techniques.
From early work on simple timber products, German designer Konstantin Grcic has since created objects as diverse as a ballpoint pen for Lamy and a kitchen blender for Krups.
His love of honest industrial design and relentless exploration of the process results in unique and highly resolved products. While full-size models are still crucial to his approach, the computer has been essential to pieces such as the ‘Osorom’ seat.
Best known for …
It may be hard to pronounce, but Grcic was still the name on everyone’s lips in 2004 after the release of his angular ‘Chair_One’ (pictured) design for Magis. Not only did it defy the norm in terms of looks, but it was also made from cast aluminium – a surprise given Magis was famous for its plastic products.