Being shown in museums is nothing new for Konstantin Grcic. He is considered Germany’s best-known living industrial designer; his “Chair_ONE” – a minimalist cast aluminum lattice chair – can be found in Berlin’s Museum of Decorative Arts and the V&A in London. What is striking about Grcic’s current show at Haus am Waldsee is that he presents his work neither as furniture nor as showpieces in a gallery. Instead, he’s playfully positioned some of his most well-known pieces in the former West Berlin villa. A fire hose snakes out of the arm of an armchair, while antennae sprout from his “Stool-Tool”. A chaise longue adorned with selfie sticks asks the question: is this an influencer’s throne or an instrument of torture? These chairs, sofas and lamps develop a life of their own as so-called “New Normals,” as the title of the exhibition reads.
Grcic’s hybrid furniture seems to defy its actual function. When cable ties protrude like spikes from seats or an office chair is strapped with elastic fitness bands, you get the feeling the objects are actively resisting being used. The futuristic quality inherent to Grcic’s pared-down design is taken to the extreme. By adding these small elements to his furniture, which always seems like it has been magically transported from a parallel universe into offices, living rooms and restaurants, he creates collections for the future. His stools, cabled together in a circle around a boulder, would be the ideal addition to any Silicon Valley conference room, a kind of campfire for the digital era. These arrangements shouldn’t, however, be taken as a trend forecast. Instead, they are playful, experimental installations intended to provoke. And they succeed, because Grcic’s reimagining of this work fundamentally questions how we interact with design: a piece of furniture is not only used, but also demands a reaction. It doesn’t just adjust to our needs, but requires us to adapt, too.
Text: Laura Storfner / Photos: Florian Böhm
Konstantin Grcic – New Normals, until 08.05.2022, Thu–Sun 11–18h