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Designer Konstantin Grcic on His Meteoric Career and What the Future Holds

The design veteran talked to Curbed at Milan Design Week

At this year's Salone del Mobile, the brand ClassiCon unveiled a series of limited-edition pieces by German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic in honor of their 25-year collaboration. But celebrating the silver anniversary of the lengthy partnership doesn't really matter to the established designer.

"I wouldn’t have noticed unless they told me. Every year is special," he said equitably, while sitting on his award-winning REMO chair for Plank. Though his oeuvre is more closely aligned with hard-edged industrial production, Grcic first studied cabinetmaking at the John Makepeace School in England before pursuing a degree in design at London’s Royal College of Art.

He began to work with British designer Jasper Morrison, whose minimalistic style has inspired his work, in the late 1980s. In his Munich studio, Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (KGID), which he founded in 1991, Grcic works with a tight-knit team of five, churning out pieces that have been described as both revolutionary and intelligent.

Pieces like Chair One and the Mayday lamp are widely regarded as design classics, and his list of designer of the year titles is lengthy. Is his career all that he imagined it would be? The answer, in short, is yes. "The kind of work I’m doing is probably what I would have dreamt of as a student," he says modestly, hesitating in search of a problem with this success. "Perhaps, there’s something a little bit frustrating when the dream fulfills itself," he adds.

At age fifty, Grcic has accomplished more than most will in a lifetime. Yet the expansion of the industrial design field during the past two decades has him questioning new directions and wondering if he missed opportunities. "Some colleagues of mine have gone off to do things that would have been unthinkable twenty-five years ago," he says. "I envy them or admire them."

Though Grcic is not opposed to change. "I’m not so young, but I’m still young enough to start a new business or do something completely different if I wanted to." That possibility, he says, keeps him content. For now, he remains passionate about the work he does, and feels confident in it. "I feel that I’m good at doing this. Probably I’d be less good with some kind of start-up company designing, I don’t know, electronic door locks."

KGID [Konstantin Grcic]

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