From March 16 through July 9, 2006 we will show the exhibition "Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design. On / Off". Normally one finds Konstantin Grcic's products in stores: one of his lamp stands among fifty by other designers. It needs to assert itself, find a buyer. Konstantin Grcic would prefer to present his lamps in a more narrative way. The Haus der Kunst offers him this possibility by providing him with its Middle Hall as an installation and project space - "On."
Konstantin Grcic and Nitzan Cohen of Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (KGID) present a selection of their designs from the last ten years. The oldest product is the table TomTom from 1996, the newest a chair designed for ClassiCon in 2005. The exhibition is not intended to be a chronological or linear presentation of achievements or works but rather as a staging of the designers' personal perception of their own creations. Finished products are accompanied by images and drawings that tell of their underlying development. By exhibiting photographs, which are arranged as image sequences or video clips, prototypes, cardboard and foam rubber models, sketches as well as excerpts from correspondence between the designers and their clients, the steps that led from conception to production of the designs are made visible and comprehensible.
This subjective consideration of the objects is also typical for the monograph, "KGID", published by Phaidon in 2005: a photograph by Florian Böhm depicts 2-HANDS (for Authentics, 1996/1998) - translucent, pastel-colored wash tubs of polypropylene - afloat on a lake, resting on the surface like blossoms sprouting from a pond. This idyll of nature is, nonetheless, ironically disturbed by the slight suggestion of polluted water, of water on which gasoline containers might float. The lamp Mayday (for Flos, 1998) lies on the floor of a workshop next to a welding torch and a stamped out cigarette. Its user can carry the lamp around by its multifunctional handle or hold it up by it, or wrap the cable around the lamp and put it down next to him. At the same time, Mayday's exterior is so engaging that it fits into the most varied living spaces. By presenting the works this way, their material makeup is exposed as well as their character, telling us how they relate to their environment and how they wish to be used.
KGID design is often coined as minimalist. Konstantin Grcic prefers to speak of simplicity. "I strongly believe in simplicity. chair_ONE, for example, is simple. It possesses an inner logic and its structure is without ornament, but I would still not refer to it as minimalist. In fact, it is really quite complex. It is precisely this form of simplicity that I like: something is radical in the sense that it is reduced to its roots, to the essential, thus possessing an irrational touch. This is the origin of personality - the human touch." (Konstantin Grcic 2005)
Konstantin Grcic is not bound to an individual aesthetic that pushes its way to the forefront and he does not hide behind anonymous solutions. He establishes, rather, new standards of the highest level by combining these two intrinsically different approaches. He does not create as much as rework, improve and reduce. Comfortable to use, his products are persuasive because of their formal severity and simplicity, their astuteness, elegance and humor.
KGID products are represented in many prominent collections: Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Design Museum, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam and Neue Sammlung, Munich.
The presentation in the Middle Hall comprises the "On" part of the exhibition. Connected to these are other spaces also designed by KGID:
- the exterior panels of the column entrance
- the orientation system in the foyer
- the seating arrangement with "Odin" sofas (produced by ClassiCon in 2005) in the foyer
- the ticket counter furniture
- the Walther König bookstore (to be completed in March 2006)
- the lamps and benches in the Golden Bar, including the white-varnished beer tables for the installation "White Noise."
These "Off" areas are flexible and do not encroach on the existing architecture and thereby represent an ideal symbiosis with the critical re-construction of the Haus carried out under the direction of Chris Dercon in which the original architecture of the building is re-exposed. The Middle Hall was first used in 2004 by Nic Hess ("Good Morning, Germany!"), followed by Aernout Mik ("Dispersions") and finally by Paul McCarthy ("LaLa Land Parody Paradise") in 2005 as an installation and project space.