German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic has created a series of futuristic scenarios as part of the largest solo exhibition of his work at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany (+ movie).
Grcic worked closely with curators at the Vitra Design Museum to create a series of installations that depict environments for future living based on his personal vision of design's role in modern society.
"We consider Konstantin Grcic to be one of the most influential designers of our time – his approach and his aesthetic is probably the most advanced and radical," Vitra Design Museum director Mateo Kries told Dezeen.
"He is at the peak of his career, but still he has never staged an exhibition that conveys the visual world, the themes and the narratives that inspire him. These were some of the reasons why we decided to work with him on a large solo exhibition," Kries added.
The installations include a fictional home interior, design studio and urban environment featuring several of Grcis's iconic designs, such as the Mayday lamp for Flos and Chair One for Magis.
The first of the installations, called Life Space, resembles a typical home featuring everyday objects including some of Grcic's own designs, which are arranged on a raised platform.
The Work Space section presents some of Grcic's products and prototypes on a long table in front of a wall clad in artificial rock that create the feel of a futuristic subterranean workshop.
A projection on the opposite wall displays scenes from a typical work day at Grcic's Munich studio, including CAD models being manipulated, a 3D printer in action, and everyday objects or prototypes being inspected.
The third area, called Public Space, features a huge panoramic collage depicting aspects of contemporary urban and rural society alongside imagined futuristic architecture.
A chain-link fence separating the image from the rest of the space is intended to create the feeling of a safe environment in which visitors are encouraged to interact with examples of Grcic's furniture.
The final section, Object Space, features a museum-style vitrine displaying a range of Grcic's products alongside inspirational objects he has collected over the years.
In a video interview with the exhibition's curators, Grcic spoke about the changes he has witnessed in the design industry throughout his career, including evolving attitudes towards mass production.
"Industry, meaning standardisation churning out many of the same products for everyone, is an old concept," the designer suggested. "The beauty is that industry now produces diversity, variety and is able to customise a project but still on an industrial scale."
He added that his own products are not always immediately accessible but that he believes design's role is to produce challenging and divisive objects.
"I sometimes hear that it takes time for my products to be understood or liked," he claimed. "I think it's quite good or necessary for products to challenge an opinion because we don't want to live in a bubble where everything is beautiful or comfortable. The power of an object that makes you think is something that I want to explore."
Konstantin Grcic – Panorama is on show at the Vitra Design Museum until 14 September 2014. It was co-produced by the Z33 House for contemporary art in Hasselt, Belgium, where it will be presented early next year.
Photography is by Mark Niedermann, courtesy of the Vitra Design Museum.
Here's some more information from the Vitra Design Museum:
Konstantin Grcic – Panorama
22.03.2014 – 14.09.2014
Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein
Konstantin Grcic is one of the most influential designers of our time. Serious and functional, unwieldy and occasionally disconcerting, his works combine an indus- trial aesthetic with experimental, artistic elements. Many of Grcic's creations, such as Chair One (2004) or the Mayday lamp (1999), are widely acclaimed as design classics. With »Konstantin Grcic – Panorama«, the Vitra Design Museum is now presenting the largest solo exhibition on Grcic and his work to date.
Specifically for this exhibition, Grcic has developed several large-scale installations rendering his personal visions for life in the future: a home interior, a design studio and an urban environment. These spaces stage fictional scenarios confronting the viewer with the designer's inspirations, chal- lenges and questions, as well as placing Grcic's works in a greater social context. The highlight of these presentations is a 30-metre long panorama that depicts an architectural landscape of the future.
A fourth area of the exhibition takes a focused look at Grcic's daily work. This section presents many of his finished objects, but also prototypes, drawings and background information along with artefacts that have inspired Grcic – from an old teapot and an early Apple computer to works by Marcel Duchamp, Gerrit Rietveld and Enzo Mari. In the shift of perspectives between larger and smaller scales, the exhibition demonstrates how design is more than mere problem solving for Grcic, but a highly complex process that integrates coincidences, ruptures, chance discoveries and a profound engagement with the visual culture of our time.
Konstantin Grcic (b. 1965) was initially influenced by the minimalist designs of Jasper Morrison under whom he began his career in the late 1980s. Soon he developed his own distinctive stylistic idiom and has become a driving force of formal and technical innovation within the international design scene. Today, Grcic works for many leading design companies, including Authentics, Flos, Magis, Vitra, ClassiCon, Plank, Krups and Muji. With his widely published designs, he often develops surprising solutions that avoid cliché and derive their radical aesthetic from Grcic's intensive investigations of materials, technologies and production processes.
With Panorama, Grcic enters new territory. Never before has he so fundamentally reflected on his own work and so thoroughly disclosed his own understanding of design in general. The exhibition is based on an extensive analysis of current technological shifts, innovations and upheavals in contemporary design. It was developed over three years of close collaboration between Grcic, the Vitra Design Museum and Z33 –House for contemporary art in Hasselt, Belgium. The result is a striking presentation of narrative and visual intensity, situated on the cusp between present and future, reality and fiction.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 320-page catalogue that comprises a catalogue raisonné of Grcic's work as well as essays by such authors as s Richard Sennett, Peter Sloterdijk, Paola Antonelli, Mario Carpo and others. In conjunction with the exhibition, Vitra Design Museum will organize a
wide-ranging event programme.
Konstantin Grcic – Panorama is an exhibition of the Vitra Design Museum and Z33 – House for contemporary art, Hasselt (Belgium). W.I.R.E. – Web for Interdisciplinary Research & Expertise at ETH Zurich was a major scientific collaborator. The exhibition will be shown at Z33 from 01.02. to 24.05.2015. Further exhibition venues will be announced in due course.