Movie: in our second video interview with Konstantin Grcic in Milan, the industrial designer discusses the upsides and downsides of designing collections for multiple brands, rather than building relationships with a select few.
"I think the business model of design studios working for several companies, and companies working with many different designers, is quite unique [compared to other industries]," says Grcic, who unveiled new products for brands including Emeco, Flos, Magis and Mattiazzi in Milan this year.
"It has its advantages; it creates dynamism,which I think is positive. I've seen the negative side of it as well; because of the dynamics things change and a company that was great to work with for five years suddenly becomes less interesting."
Grcic concedes that he would prefer to work with fewer companies and build long-term relationships with them.
"To be honest, I prefer working for only a very few companies and having a very steady relationship," he says. "That's how it was in the old days, especially in Italy. The great masters each had a few companies that they worked for, almost for a lifetime, and that's what produced the really great work."
However, Grcic says that is still possible to work with a company on a short-term basis and produce good work.
"I think some companies, for sure, hire designers for marketing reasons, for having their names in the catalogue," he says. "But there are other companies - and those are the interesting companies - that are looking for designers as partners for realising certain projects."
He continues: "It's interesting that a company like Magis, for example, somehow succeeds in bringing together very different designers on very different projects. If it works, it's actually quite fascinating. It creates an interesting tension and energy."
Similarly, Grcic says that a long-standing relationship with a company doesn't guarantee good design.
"There are companies that only work with very few designers and it can show that the continuity creates better work," he says. "But it can also end in repetition and a kind of dead-end street."