As the title suggests, 'Konstantin Grcic: Panorama', opening today at The Vitra Design Museum, is a sweeping overview of Grcic's career: a career that has established him as the reigning champ of a new poetic rationalism.
The Hugo Boss-sponsored exhibition, a collaboration between Vitra and Grcic and years in the making, doesn't attack this career in a straight ahead chronological way, but rather at conceptual angles. It picks up on key themes and asks the same questions that Grcic has asked and tried to answer in his work… the questions he keeps asking.
'Life Space', the first section of the show, asks what it really means to live 'somewhere' now; and if we are all increasingly mobile, can we simply take that space with us? Furthermore, how do you create a space that allows for networking, communication and contact - through all the mediums that now offer that - as well as peace, solitude and solace?
'Work Space' tries to get at Grcic's creative process, taking us inside a studio, or hi-tech science lab that contains seemingly random inspirational objects. The space also asks, what does the rationalist modernist do when the job of trying to make people's lives work better has to accommodate competing demands? When the idea of a benevolent design god offering one solution for the common good is dead?
'Public Space' meanwhile, spins around a 30 metre long, 4.5 metre high, digital image produced by artist Neil Campbell Ross. Here are multiple images of what's out there, for better or worse, the old and the new, nature and the city, utopia and dystopia, the unholy mess of the common land. What, it asks, is the designer to do with it, what is a useful intervention?
'Object Space', on the other hand, is biography through object - Grcic's own designs that have inspired him. It is CV and wunderkammer and suggests where Grcic might head next.