Konstantin Grcic always loved building things. After high school, he worked for an antique furniture restorer, “to learn how to make things properly,” he recalls. Then he apprenticed with a cabinetmaker, where he discovered something he liked better than building—designing. At the Royal College of Art in London, he discovered his true passion—designing furniture.
His work is known for its logical thought process, honesty of materials, and respect for production methods. His impressive client list includes Authentics, Flos, Iittala, Krups, Lamy, Magis, Mattiazzi, Moroso, Muji, Plank, and Vitra.
Grcic’s partnership with Magis led to one of the most inventive chairs ever created: Chair_One. “This was a wonderful project to work on,” says Grcic, while admitting he approached it with some naïveté. “It was possibly the first time such a large die-cast was used for making a chair. Typically this technology is used for smaller components,” he explains. “It involved a lot of heavy tooling. I broke up surfaces into thin sections, like branches, and let the material flow through the mold to create the shape, which is like a basket, very three-dimensional.” It was also one of the first times Grcic used 3-D computer modeling. “So for me, it was a pioneering process and a turning point for our studio,” he says.
Four years in the making, Magis Chair_One went on to become an icon. It’s now in the permanent collections of MoMA in New York and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, along with other Grcic pieces, such as his Mayday Lamp for Flos.
Grcic feels fortunate to do something he loves and hopes young designers feel the same. “Some people think design is all about having fun,” he states. “But it’s serious work. You have to think about not only the object you’re designing, but everything from how it will be produced, to who will be using it, to what happens to it after its life cycle. Designing is a responsibility, and I believe you can only do it well if you truly enjoy it.”