Hieronymus by Konstantin Grcic

exhibition,  Galerie kreo, Paris, France, until 16 July 2016.

April 2016
A black submarine-evoking object by Konstantin Grcic is the embodiment of new generation design innovation at the German designer's show at Galerie kreo in Paris. Titled Hieronymus 3D Printed Sand, the curious-looking creation is the culmination of 3D-printing 11 separate pieces that were assembled upon arrival in the gallery space. Involving Grcic experimenting with 3D printing in a fresh, demanding way, it highlights the role of a gallery in enabling a designer to realise highly complex, limited edition pieces.
It's as if the sand has been dragged up from the depths of the ocean in order to make a piece that loosely recalls a vessel submerged under water. However, communication has been rendered difficult as the seats do not directly face each other. This awkwardness is key to the piece and the four others in the show. “I wanted to create a certain kind of tension in the pieces,” says Grcic.
The five objects are deliberately uncomfortable to sit in and use, expressing an ambiguity of intent. A gold, curved cabin in anodized aluminium evokes a telephone cabin, but due to its narrowness one feels squeezed in and trapped. A desk-chair in MineroⓇ – a composite material in concrete resin developed especially for this piece – is impossible to sit and work in as the tiny seat slopes downwards. Two other pieces, in Carrara marble and walnut wood, have geometric interplays and could be used for perched seating although their potentiality is unclear.
The collection sees Gric once again testing the possibilities of sculptural exploration, processes and materials in the gallery setting. It stems from the cerebral designer's questioning about what fundamentally distinguishes something so that it can, or cannot, be used in a functional way. Grcic, 50, also invites us to rethink our habitual responses to furniture. He requires us to snap out of our physical comfort zone and mentally analyze how we can reconfigure the posture of our bodies to engage with the pieces. The collection could be described as mind-design.
Aimed at museums as well as art and design collectors, these pieces are not destined to be used so much as to be considered intellectually. If design is about asking questions in relation to the needs of society, then Grcic has identified and reflected upon the urgent need for more intellectual stimulus. The collection positions itself as a counterpoint to the millions of industrial design products to be unveiled next week at the Salone del Mobile in Milan.
images courtesy of Galerie kreo, copyright Fabrice Gousset