German designer Konstantin Grcic was born in Munich in 1965. After opening his practice KGID (Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design) in 1990, he very quickly received recognition for his simple, ingenious products. With numerous commissions from the most important names in the design industry, such as Authentics, Flos, iittala, Krups, Magis and Muji, his work has been widely published in several books and design reviews, and has been awarded the prestigious Compasso d’Oro (Milan, 2001) and Nombre d’Or (Paris, 2004), among others.
Grcic describes himself as a mix of German mentality and English education. Following his initial training as a cabinetmaker, from which he retains the hands-on approach and sensitivity to materials of a craftsman, Grcic went on to study contemporary design at the Royal College of Art in London. This formative experience added a new dimension to his fascination with making things. As a result, every one of his products is characterized by his careful research into the history of design and architecture, and his passion for technology and materials. So much so, that Achille Castiglioni, one of the most significant Italian designers of the twentieth century, considered him to be his ‘spiritual heir’.
The book presents the work of KGID, showcasing a remarkable portfolio of products and design concepts with especially commissioned photographs and original drawings. It also offers a rare insight into his design process by showing the various stages of a product’s development through sketches, models, computer renderings and snapshots at the workshops of KGID and several manufacturers. With texts by Konstantin Grcic, Pierre Doze and Francesca Picchi, and conceived by Florian Böhm and Konstantin Grcic, this is the first publication on one of the most interesting and prolific designers of today.
Monograph: KGID (Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design), Edited by Florian Böhm
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The Beomaster 1900 arrived in 1977 as the most stylish Hi-Fi amp/tuner on the planet. This remains an outstanding design of the period. It is a masterpiece of design with its brushed aluminium, detailled illuminated front indicators and of course the mysterious touch sensitive pads.
Jacob Jensen succeeded in a further coup. Not only did he resist the temptation to follow the general trend and stack individual components on top of each other to form a so-called “hi-fi tower”, but he also demonstrated how to counter Japanese firms, who had long since dominated the market with uninspired metal boxes full of buttons and dials.
Beomaster 1900, by Jacob Jensen, for Bang & Olufsen
Widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture, Walter Gropius’s first large building, the Fagus Shoe Factory in Alfred on the Leine in 1911 was materialized due to his connection with Peter Behrens and in cooperation with Adolf Meyer.
The client’s wish for an attractive facade was solved by Gropius in a special way: by means of a projected steel skeleton, which pulled the function of support to the inside, thereby making possible a broad dissolution of the exterior envelope into glass walls; the idea of the ‘curtain wall’ was at this point first expressed in a consistent manner.
— from Udo Kultermann. Architecture in the 20th Century.
Fagus Shoe Factory, 1911, by Walter Gropius with Adolf Meyer.
The Sony TV8-301 was the world’s first truly portable television. There had been earlier ‘portable’ TV sets, but you needed to be very strong to carry them. When the sets went on sale in 1960, television was still considered a luxury commodity for the average family. For the price, most people considered a large console set more practical than a portable model. In fact, most of the early Sony TV owners were either very rich or eccentric.
TV8-301, by Sony
Fabricius & Kastholm met each other at the School of Interior design, subsequently formed a partnership and together founded an architect’s office in 1961. They specialised in designing furniture and single-family housing. Although they have individually created some interesting designs, it is in partnership that they have achieved their greatest successes. Their furniture is elegant, refined, and designed with an amazing sense of functionality, detail and quality.
Preben Fabricius (left) [1931-1984] He served his apprenticeship as a cabinet maker with master joiner Niels Vodder in 1952, followed by a course at the School of Interior Design. On completing his studies he was employed by architect Ole Hagen.
Jorgen Kastholm, (right) [1931-2007] first trained as a blacksmith, and later as an architect at the school of interior design, he worked for a period of time with Arne Jacobsen, who became an inspiration to him, he later travelled to Beirut, where he designed the local SAS office (Scandinavian Airlines System). Since then Kastholm has had a successful career and received many prizes and awards.
In the centre of Copenhagen, on the sixth floor of the Royal Hotel, a single room preserves a microcosm of the definitive masterwork of Danish architect and furniture designer Arne Jacobsen. Room 606 is the last surviving interior of the SAS House: an unparalleled example of modern architecture and design, completed in 1960. With the grey, blue-green colours, the wengé wood and a selection of the most representative furniture designed for the hotel, this room takes its visitors to another time and place.
Hotel guests with an interest in design are welcome to visit Room 606, when it is available. Arne Jacobsen designed the famous Egg and Swan chairs for the Royal as well as the lesser known and rare Drop chair. The room features other details like built-in makeup mirrors, radio and intercom system.
Room 606, starting at 1,295.00 DKK per night, by Arne Jacobsen, at Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark
Room 606, A survey of the work of architect and furniture designer Arne Jacobsen.
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The Beogram 4000, was the world’s first electronically controlled tangential gramophone. In this pioneering concept, the pick-up moved in a straight line towards the centre of the record parallel with – or tangentially in relation to – the groove.
The innovative and extremely stylish record deck was designed by Jacob Jensen who helped shape Bang & Olufsen’s product design with its characteristic use of discrete, clear lines and high functionality. It is a design which has helped manifest B&O’s easily recognisable product identity.
The Beogram 4000 is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York.
Beogram 4000, 1972, by Jacob Jensen, for Bang & Olufsen
In 1938, with great fanfare, New York Central introduced 10 new streamliner steam engines and cars designed by Henry Dreyfuss for its Twentieth Century Limited New-York-Chicago run. An upgraded version of his Mercury design, the new J 3 4-6-4 Hudson locomotives featured finned bullet-noses reminiscent of ancient warrior helmets. “Streamlining” proved to be so popular that many products of the time developed this form, including this Steam Iron designed by Dreyfuss in 1948.
Steam Iron, 1948, by Henry Dreyfuss, for the General Electric Company, Lynn, USA
Santiago Calatrava has combined sculpture and the dynamics of architecture with the power of engineering for a residential tower in Malmö, Sweden. Calatrava’s design for the Turning Torso is meant to be seen as a free standing sculptural element inspired by the human body, and evolved from one of his sculptures in an exhibition. Nine cubes, twisting 90 degrees from bottom to top, will rise 45 stories topped with a glass-enclosed floor for meetings and special events, and a rooftop observation deck with vistas to Copenhagen.
“There was a wish to get something exceptional, I also wanted to deliver something technically unique.” – Santiago Calatrava
George Nelson (1908-1986) was an important modernist whose work cut across the fields of interior, industrial and exhibition design. Nelson studied architecture at Yale University in the 1920s, and in the next two decades earned a strong reputation as a writer on design for Architectural Forum, Interiors and Fortune. In 1945 Nelson began a long association with the Herman Miller Furniture Company of Zeeland, Michigan, where as head designer he developed an innovative line of furniture and commissioned new designs from others. His first commission was Isamu Noguchi’s biomorphic glass-topped coffee table, which began production in 1947, the first of many designs that the sculptor would create for Herman Miller in the late Forties. Nelson also was responsible for bringing the designs of Charles Eames to Herman Miller, and he collaborated with R. Buckminster Fuller on a number of projects. Among Nelson’s own creations are classic works of Fifties design, including the bubble lamp, ball clock, marshmallow sofa and the pole-supported wall-storage system.
The Vitra Design Museum at Weil am Rhein in Germany is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Nelson’s birth with a retrospective of his work, opening Sept. 13. “Although Nelson was one of the most important American designers and design writers, it’s almost as if we are introducing him in Europe and reintroducing him in the U.S.,” said Jochen Eisenbrand, the exhibition’s curator. “Most people, even those interested in design, may not know much more about him than a few design classics.”