words Christopher Turner
Konstantin Grcic was ubiquitous in Milan this year, with ten pieces on display, including first-time collaborations with Established & Sons, Vitra and Azucena, as well as new work for Magis and Plank. "I’ve really enjoyed doing furniture design again," the 46-year-old says. “It has something to do with the fact that at the moment I can work on different ideas of the chair at the same time. I don’t feel I’m making a definitive statement but single little statements."
Grcic’s angular Chair_One (2004), on show at Dream Factories curated by Alberto Alessi at the Triennale Design Museum, was inspired by soccer-ball construction. "I wanted to make a chair that didn’t look like a chair,” he explains of his die-cast aluminium classic. But his latest work, such as the Cape sofa for Established –which has loose fabric fitted over it that falls in sculptural folds, inspired by the dust coverings of furniture in off-season hotels or country estates – has a new softness. “At the moment I don’t have the urge to break out of typologies," he says. "If you accept that a chair looks like a chair, that creates another kind of freedom. My pieces are becoming more comfortable now – in some ways I’ve matured."
The exception, he says, is the Waver for Vitra, a swivelling field chair decorated in vibrant, clashing colours and lightweight fabric more usually associated with windsurfing or paragliding. "That belongs to a much larger project we’re working on with the company," Grcic says. "It will open up a whole new territory for Vitra - the outdoors. For that project it was very necessary to look beyond common typologies and break out of the mould. It’s a first signal, a preview of what is to come."
top picture credit Cape sofa for Established & Sons
credit Waver for Vitra
credit Tom & Jerry stools for Magis