‘panorama’ is the title of a retrospective of german designer konstantin grcic at the VITRA design museum, showcasing the largest display of grcic’s work to date. in addition, three new in-situ installations on the ground floor narrate the role of design in our times with political, sociological, anthropological and technological incursions.

 konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
konstantin grcic – panorama
 
VITRA design museum, weil am rhein
march 22 – september 14, 2014

 

a retrospective that looks to the future, but also is a ‘diorama’ of the present, a ‘panorama’ where boundaries between public and private living and work space are increasingly blurred. comprised of four specifically curated sections, the exhibition includes three large-scale installations that detail grcic’s visions for life in the future, and are asking questions to stimulate a discussion. ‘life space’ – a home interior, ‘work space’ – a design studio and ‘public space’ – a futuristic urban environment containing a panorama, from which the exhibit takes its name.

 

we’re not saying that life will be like this or this…, just suggesting different ways of looking at it.’ developed over the past three years, the exhibition is the result of a collaboration among konstantin grcic, the VITRA design museum and Z33 – house for contemporary art based in hasselt, belgium.

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
designboom discussed with konstantin grcic the opportunity to present his work on such a large scale

 

 

 


konstantin grcic’s vision of how the spaces we inhabit and the objects we use will be designed in the near future
video © designboom

 

 konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom

in the designboom interview , grcic says ‘it’s definitely a chance to reflect on more than twenty years of my own work, and looking back is not always easy… it’s interesting to understand what happened during those last twenty years. my beginnings were pre-computer, pre-digital photography – my early work was so simple. all that now, looking back, seems quite beautiful.’

 

he also talked at length about the complexities of working in a challenging economic climate:
‘I think that the last 5-6 years have been difficult years for everyone. for the companies we work with, for everyone that is connected to that world of industry… I always thought that difficulty is a chance to change things, to rethink, to change perspectives or positions.’

 

grcic explained how his work has evolved, and why he has begun to work with different organizations:
‘the last years have been years in which I have turned more attention to smaller companies… I see that there is really something we can change or contribute or engage in even small strategies, but also making a real contribution’.

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
the centerpiece of the presentation is found in the exhibition’s largest room – ‘public space’.
excerpt from the exhibition catalog – words by konstantin grcic
image © designboom

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
the 30 meter long canvas landscape was produced in collaboration with artist neil campbell ross
image © designboom

 

a 30 meter long canvas produced in collaboration with neil campbell ross documenting an urban landscape featuring city skylines, airports, harbors and constructions of a sci-fi nature. the expansive volume is sporadically furnished with grcic’s work – ‘chair_one’ (2004) and ‘landen’ (2007). the immersive image is separated from the central part of the gallery with a tall chain-link fence, which grcic says ‘offers security and protection from the world‘. unlike other areas of the exhibition, here guests are encouraged to use and interact with the display, and consequently witness the coexistence of city and landscape, observing the utopia and dystopia that is fundamentally evident in the panoramic image. ‘like most elements of the exhibition, they can be read positively or negatively.’ grcic states.

 

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom

in the ‘work space’, the contrast between cave and high-tech illustrates the enthusiastic view of the future that has dominated the design discourse in recent years.
image © designboom

 

 

the ‘work space’ showcases a number of grcic’s objects and prototypes displayed within a laboratory fused with a model workshop. at alternate ends of the room, one wall is clad in artificial rugged rock illuminated with purple light, while the other functions as a projection screen, providing insights into a typical day in the designer’s munich studio. the contrast between cave and and high-tech illustrates the design discourse of today, with cutting edge production techniques and new economic models flourishing against the backdrop of fragmented consumer markets, which will inevitably have an adverse effect on the influence today’s designers. the installation does not promise answers, but rather creates visual images that question and examine the role of a designer in the early 21st century.

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom

the cave wall here refers to the architecture of the server space of wikiLeaks, ‘pionen – white mountain’, designed by albert france-lanord architects, which is housed in a former 1,200 sqm cold war bunker; 30 meters under the granite rocks of the vita berg park in stockholm. konstantin grcic was surprised to see his chair_one for magis (from 2004) in this work space.

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
WORK SPACE text by konstantin grcic, excerpt from the exhibition catalog
image © designboom

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
in this room installation different stages from ‘virtual’ to ‘physical’ are shown
image © designboom

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
in the front: ‘man machine’, 2014. a chaise-mock up in wood (for testing the seat angle), design by konstantin grcic  for gallery kreo, 2014.
image © designboom

 

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
‘work space’ showcases a number of grcic’s objects and prototypes. illuminated by grcic’s ‘lunar’ lamp for flos.
image © designboom

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
the room takes the form of a laboratory fused with a workshop, existing work and specially made conceptual objects
image © designboom

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
the wall serves as a projection screen for a film providing glimpses of a typical work day in grcic’s munich studio.
image © designboom

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom

files are opened and objects are visualized on a computer, prototypes are made, a 3D printer is at work…

 

the video illustrates how ubiquitous many of the celebrated ‘new technologies’ have become for a designer today. stylistically, konstantin grcic here refers to the video work of french artist camille henrot ‘grosse fatigue’, especially the encyclopedic video on the history of the universe – shown at the venice art biennale in 2013 (which received a silver lion).

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
‘magliana’, seat element prototype, fiberglass reinforced concrete, design by konstantin grcic for gallery O, 2014
images © designboom

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
the ‘real’ work space of konstantin grcic’s studio in munich
photo © james harris

 

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
excerpt from the exhibition catalog – words by konstantin grcic

 

the section ‘life space’ features an apparently anonymous space where a stage-like platform delineates a living area. the volume provides its fictional occupant with electricity, WLAN, heating and air conditioning in addition to establishing a link between the room’s more personal objects and its nondescript architecture. the stage questions notions attached to the human occupation of space, considering the minimal requirements necessary to exist in comfort. the installation embraces technical innovation while simultaneously imparting an almost meditative air of tranquility. catering to a range of human needs, the space facilitates communication, but also focuses on retreat and concentration.

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
in ‘life space’ a stage-like platform delineates an anonymous living area
image © designboom

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
grcic’s new chair for arflex, which officially will be presented during the milan design week in april, is already part of the installation, placed
next to his ‘karbon’ chaiselongue for galerie kreo, 2008.
image © designboom

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
karbon, chaiselongue, galerie kreo, 2008, © KGID, photo: galerie kreo, fabrice gousse

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
the volume caters to a range of human needs, focusing on retreat and concentration. in the front: ‘waver’ swivel chair for VITRA.
image © designboom

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
waver, armchair, vitra, 2011, collection vitra design museum, © KGID, photo: florian böhm

 

 

 konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
‘object space’ comprises a series of display cases highlighting a range of grcic’s designs, drawings and prototypes
image © designboom

 

 

in ‘object space’, the fourth and final area, a long series of display cases highlight a range of grcic’s designs, drawings and prototypes, complimented by a selection of works that served as important sources of reference. the artifacts are all part of grcic’s personal collection, offering an insight into the designer’s working process and methods. work is not presented as a linear progression but as a process in which interconnections, accidents and coincidences play a significant and inherent role, as grcic himself states – ‘inspiration comes from the dynamic interaction of things. the vitrine is a cosmos of knowledge and ideas. taken as a whole, it represents a part of my biography’.

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
excerpt from the exhibition catalog – words by konstantin grcic
image © designboom

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
the collection is complimented by a selection of works by other designers or artists that served as important sources of reference
image © designboom

 

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom

work is not presented as a linear progression but as a thoughtful and interconnected process. the ‘wanda’ dish rack for wireworks (1997) is a translation of duchamp’s bottle dryer.
image © designboom

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
‘miura’ bar stool for plank (2005)

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
objects that have made an impact on grcic’s research – each placed next to something with which it has a connection
image © designboom

 

konstantin grcic - panorama vitra design museum designboom
mayday, light, flos, 1999, collection vitra design museum, © KGID, photo: florian böhm

 

 

 

the book »konstantin grcic – panorama« published by VITRA design museum, contains the first catalogue raisonné of the designer’s work and documents over 400 pieces of furniture, products and exhibitions with informative details, images and comprehensive descriptions. this overview is accompanied by numerous illustrated essays from renowned authors, including peter sloterdijk, richard sennett, paola antonelli, jonathan olivares, mario carpo, louise schouwenberg and jan boelen.

 

konstantin grcic
(*1965) was trained as a cabinet maker at the john makepeace school (dorset, england) before studying design at the royal college of art in london. since setting up his own practice konstantin grcic industrial design (KGID) in munich in 1991, he has developed furniture, products and lighting for some of the leading companies in the design field and continues to investigate solutions that combine materiality, technology and industrial (mass-) production. grcic has developed a reputation as a functional and innovative producer of works, able to combine an industrial aesthetic with experimental artistic elements.