Furniture objects made of glass entitled „Man Machine“ designed by Konstantin Grcic are currently on show in the Parisian Galerie Kreo. All photos © Sophia Walk, Stylepark
By means of cranks, hinges, pistons and pneumatic pumps, which are reminiscent of the automotive industry, the height of this table, belonging to the collection „Man Machine“, can be adjusted.
In architecture, one of the most commonly used materials, industrial float glass is rather rare in the field of object design.
In the gallery Kreo, the glass objects are presented on simple horizontal and vertical wooden panels. Here the models "Table M" and "Table M Smoke".
Also in this glass chest the technical elements are reminiscent of the automotive industry.
From the pavement of the Rue Dauphine one crosses a small courtyard to enter the gallery Kreo.
Grcic’s glass machines
by Sophia Walk
The sidewalk on rue Dauphine in Paris’ 6th arrondissement is narrow. One of the display windows you pass looks like it belongs to a furniture store. Yet the window of building number 31 bears the name, in black letters, “Galerie kreo”. The furniture collection Konstantin Grcic is presenting here encompasses nine pieces: a chair, four tables of different sizes, a shelving unit, a display cabinet and two chests. And it is a real surprise, for in his latest designs Grcic has used just one material, glass.
Though it is the most frequently used construction material in contemporary architecture, industrial float glass is not an obvious choice for use in furniture production. In any case it has appeared only rarely in contemporary design to date. Yet for an industrial designer like Konstantin Grcic, who loves a challenge and has often experimented with new materials, it must have been pretty fascinating to work with float glass. The objects really catch your eye as you enter the gallery. Their clarity is striking.
To produce his glass collection, Grcic worked with a glass workshop in Frankfurt/Main established in 1829. The creative process of the designs is closely linked to both industrial and manual production methods. Yet the choice of material is not the only surprise Grcic has up his sleeve. The special thing about the nine objects is that they are movable, adjustable. How, you ask? Pistons, pneumatic pumps, hinges and cranks enable the components of each piece – depending on how it is to be used – to change position. Black silicone elements ensure stability and enable the glass components to move and slide against one another. At the same time, they dominate the appearance of the delicate, seemingly airy forms, lending a technical character to the transparent glass objects. They almost seem like structural bodies in the spirit of industrial production. Typically Grcic, we are inclined to say.
The table “M”, for instance, can be height adjusted and, depending on use, adapted to specific needs. In the case of the chair it is the seating position that can be adjusted, allowing the user to read or lounge comfortably. The shelving unit has sliding rectangular wooden elements that double up as bookends. And the lid of the chests, which, being transparent, conceal nothing, can be opened and closed. How conventional! This constitutes the mechanical aspect of the collection, indeed, its machine-like character. Which Konstantin Grcic backs up by having named the collection – “Man Machine” – after the 1978 album by the legendary band “Kraftwerk”. Hard, crystal clear, variable, entirely transparent in structure and function – furniture and music share numerous qualities. But only when they are made by Grcic and Kraftwerk. It’s hardly surprising that neither of them tend to make themselves comfortable.
Konstantin Grcic "Man Machine"