"I felt we should change the way Emeco
makes chairs" - Konstantin Grcic

| 8 comments

Movie: Designer Konstantin Grcic tells Dezeen that American furniture company Emeco had to industrialise its production methods to produce his new Parrish chair in this video interview filmed in Milan. 

"I felt we should change the way Emeco make chairs" - Konstantin Grcic
Konstantin Grcic

Grcic originally designed the Parrish chair as part of a range of furniture for Herzog & de Meuron's barn-like Parrish Art Museum on Long Island, completed in 2012.

The chair was launched by American furniture company Emeco as a commercial product at Milan earlier this year.

"I felt we should change the way Emeco make chairs" - Konstantin Grcic
Parrish chairs and tables at the Parrish Art Museum

In the movie, Grcic explains that he approached Emeco to produce the chair because of its experience of working in aluminium, most famously with the iconic Navy Chair, which Emeco has produced since 1944.

"I felt we should change the way Emeco make chairs" - Konstantin Grcic
Emeco's Navy Chair

"I felt we needed a company to support the development of the project," says Grcic.

"Emeco stands for chairs in aluminium and aluminium was the perfect material for the chair that we had in mind because the [Parrish Art Museum] is very open [to the elements]."

"I felt we should change the way Emeco make chairs" - Konstantin Grcic
Parrish chairs at the Parrish Art Museum

Unlike the Navy Chair, in which each piece is welded together by hand, the legs, armrests and backrest of the Parrish chair are all locked together by a single joint under the seat.

"I felt we should change the way Emeco make chairs" - Konstantin Grcic

"Everything is mechanically joined to a central core, a piece of die-cast aluminium, which is really the heart of the chair," Grcic explains.

"So we have one moulded piece that solves all of the structure of the chair and the seat is exchangeable. You can have an upholstered seat, a plastic seat or a wooden seat."

"I felt we should change the way Emeco make chairs" - Konstantin Grcic

Grcic says that he deliberately wanted to move Emeco away from the time-intensive production methods involved in producing the Navy Chair.

"I felt we should actually change the way [Emeco] makes chairs," he says. "Industrialise it, simplify it, eliminate all the dirty work, all the hand labour. That's what really informed the concept of the chair."

"I felt we should change the way Emeco make chairs" - Konstantin Grcic

He concludes: "Emeco will always produce the Navy Chair in the way they produce it, but I think now we've established another form of production inside their company."

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"I felt we should change the way Emeco make chairs" - Konstantin Grcic

  • Pablo

    I’m sure the folks at Emeco will love it, a designer declaring “I felt we should actually change the way [Emeco] makes chairs” or “Emeco will always produce the Navy Chair in the way they produce it,
    but I think now we’ve established another form of production inside
    their company.”

    The chair is fantastic, but the ego on this guy…

    It lies up there with the recent words from Phillipe Starck and his ‘invention of a new water’ (referring to regular aereated tap water).

    • Matt

      So uncomfortable!

    • pantau

      Please watch some interviews with Grcic. Timid and thoughtful come to my mind but not “ego”.

      • FJ

        Yes, thats true. Konstantin is the understatment in person!

    • kaus

      I’m not sure how you are “reading” this, Pablo. I understand that it is a new manufacturing system for Emeco (not that he’s invented tube bending). But yes, let’s hate all famous designers!

    • Diego

      Nope – you are understanding it wrong Pablo. He was brought in and to offer the company an alternative solution to their production methods. It may have been a marketing strategy within the company structure to expand, or maybe he offered the proposal. He did his job – that’s all :)

  • J. Matthew Riva

    I don’t get it. If it is mass produced why is it so expensive then? The parts are hypothetically way cheaper to produce and yet it costs as much as the hand made navy chair.

  • Alphonse Gabriel Capone

    Absolutely ridicolous, the chair and the designer first!