Konstantin Grcic is a known talent who has created pieces for companies such as Muji, Flos, and Vitra. His work even has a home in MoMA’s permanent collection. But as intangible systems and user experience steal the limelight from heroic products, how does an industrial designer adapt?
Grcic tackles the problem In his career retrospective at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The way he sees it, our near-future home, office, and public spaces can and probably should be pretty out there.
The Grcic home is edgy by any standard, because it nixes both the traditional kitchen and bathroom. Presumably, as urban cities become more densely packed, home-cooked meals will give way to restaurants and Seamless, and everyone will just shower at the gym. It’s minimalist living, not unlike the new micro-apartments in New York City or Le Corbusier’s Cabanon from 1952. (Le Corbusier apparently ate all his meals at the restaurant next to his cabin).
Grcic’s office is a design studio (naturally). This part of the exhibit seems more about Grcic’s ability to reflect rather than forecast–it includes not only Grcic’s designs and objects that influence him, but also a projected screen that plays footage of the technology he uses during his workdays. That contrast–physical work versus digital work–is top of mind for Grcic. Perhaps it should be a reminder for us, too.
The third and most dystopian stage is the Public Space, where a massive backdrop–a mashup of Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, and Shanghai–surrounds visitors. The eeriest part is Grcic’s addition of a fence, which partitions people in an imagined park from the urban mess beyond. A few of Grcic’s famous Chair_Ones decorate the space (you can actually sit in them). With no park benches, and just these isolated chairs peppering the space, the message is clear: Who needs human companions, when we can be connected to our devices instead?
See in Panorma at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, until September 14.