The book „Konstantin Grcic Abbildungen/Figures“ is published by the Swiss company Lars Müller Publishers. It is the catalogue for the exhibition of the same name at the Bielefeld art gallery. The publication was produced in cooperation with Konstantin Grcic and offers an unconventional look at his designs.
The industrial designer of today: Konstantin Grcic
Konstantin Grcic is an influential industrial designer of the present day who has been operating his design studio KGID (Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design) since 1991. He was born in Munich and works for significant, design oriented companies, for example Magis, Plank or Vitra. Grcic’s career began in 1985 with an apprenticeship as cabinet maker at the John Makepeace School of Farnham College in Dorset, after which he studied in the field of industrial design at the Royal College of Art in London. In his first years he was assigned to neo-functionalism due to the focus on comprehensible forms and the work with discreet materials. Grcic aroused particular interest, however, by his conceptual approach: „Grcic first explored in many of his ideas and assignments the conventional production methods and then applied these himself in modified form“, is how Friedrich Meschede describes the approach, which is shown to its best advantage in „chair_ONE“ (2004). Because the manufacturing feasibility and casting possibilities are taken into account for defining the design of the glittering seat shell of the chair. „chair ONE“ has become the emblem for Grcic’s design and is considered already today a design classic. These and other designs can be found also in important design collections worldwide such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the Neue Sammlung (New Collection) in Munich.
The Pedestal as connection between art and design
Starting point and grammar in the concept of the exhibition in Bielefeld was the pedestal. Theme of the pedestal is taken up in a construction of „chair_ONE“ for outdoors, whereby the distinctive seat shell tapers conically and is attached to a concrete pedestal. Simultaneously, the pedestal refers to a presentation form of art which, particularly in the case of sculptures, is applied prominently. With a pedestal, the exhibited item is elevated and special visual attention is generated. This is already clear in the case of „chair_ONE“ with concrete base, whereby the formal aspects of the seat shell are emphasised. Many products in the exhibition, due to their museum context and pedestals especially constructed for it, become autonomic forms without everyday usefulness. With the emphasis of the creative aspect of the design items the exhibition also refers to the architect of the art gallery, Philip Johnson. Inspired by Bauhaus and still in his function as curator of the design department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Johnson evaluated industrial products already in the 1930s as being of equal importance with visual art and organised the first exhibitions.
Experimental interplay between text and graphics
In the book „Konstantin Grcic Abbildungen/Figures“ presentation forms are similarly discussed. For this, various graphics as well as photographic images are compiled: product sheets encounter advertisements and brochures, posters, magazine contributions as well as title images and renderings for the exhibition in Bielefeld. By means of this experimental approach, the characteristic form is emphasised, as in the exhibition. This experimental approach was incited by the exhibition title „Abbildungen“, (illustrations) which also formally defines the catalogue, where the list of illustrations was placed prominently at the beginning and the illustration numbering is located on the cover. Furthermore, the theme was adopted when designing the poster-like dust jacket on which various product images are merged. To these illustrations are added views of the exhibition which facilitate a comprehensive insight into the show. The link of these various visual presentation forms are two text contributions from the director of the Bielefeld art gallery, Friedrich Meschede and the design expert Robin Schuldenfrei. Whereas Meschede explains the significance of the pedestal for art and design in connection with the exhibition, Robin Schuldenfrei presents Konstantin Grcic’s understanding of design and emphasises the skilfulness of his approaches. The present texts in English and German offer a sensible addition to the strikingly designed book from Strobo Design Berlin Munich.
The Lars Müller Publishers
Lars Müller Publishers is an enterprise domiciled in Zurich and was founded in 1983 on the initiative of the designer Lars Müller. Since then, the internationally active publishing house has become a famous name through high quality publications in the field of architecture, design, photography, contemporary art and society.
Posted on 15.11.2017
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