Fuorisalone Milan Design Week 2011: Konstantin Grcic @ Azucena


Entre-Deux by Konstantin Grcic for Azucena

Among the more interesting co-operations we saw in Milan was the first product from Konstantin Grcic for Azucena.

Entre-Deux is a very simple, reserved screen/divider/barricade – but as we say, the interesting point is the cooperation.

And so to find out more about how it arose and how it could develop in the future we spoke briefly with Konstantin Grcic.

(smow)blog: Starting with the obvious first question, how did the cooperation between yourself and Azucena come about?

Konstantin Grcic: Everything really started with a meeting with the current managing director Marta Sala, who is also the niece of Caccia Dominioni one of the company founders. As a company Azucena has always been relatively low-key and all the products have always been designed by the same three, original, designers, who are now getting older. And so the question obviously arises as to how one proceeds. Does one say that was that, the designs can still be produced but we’re not going to create anything new. Or does one attempt to carry this spirit forward. And somehow my name arose as someone from another generation, and other country, another tradition; but also someone where there are connections and where one has the feeling that they have similar ideas about the objects, as to how they are made and why are made etc. And Marta and myself were introduced last summer and had a lot of conversations during which I learned a lot about the background to the company, the products and from these conversations developed quite naturally the desire, the wish, to work together…

(smow)blog: … and so can one say that in a way you wanted to, lets say, rescue the company?

Konstantin Grcic: Not at all, because it doesn’t need to be rescued. It works as it is. And one could simply leave it as it is and it would continue to work. I’ve known the company for a long time and had always accepted it as a sort of “closed book”. But then I got to know Marta and Azucena is her life; just as it was the life of her uncle or her mother: And for Marta it’s clear that when it is her life that it must go forward and that it needs a “new spirit”. And so over the dialogue, over the time that we spent together came the decision, “come! lets do something together!”.

(smow)blog: This history that stands behind the company, is that something that intimidates you and sometimes makes you think, no, I’d rather not?

Konstantin Grcic: No  but I think that was only because it was communicated to me by Marta so that one understood that it isn’t some invincible, historical item on a marble pedestal but rather so that I understood why these things were created and that they were created for reasons, and owing to situations, that aren’t so different from those faced by designers today.

(smow)blog: And can we presume that there are plans for an extended cooperation?

Konstantin Grcic: Exactly, Entre-Deux is just the very small beginning and the plan is now that I’ll remain working here until I’m at least 94 like Caccia Dominioni…

(smow)blog: … so they’ve trapped you and now there’s nothing you can do…

Konstantin Grcic: There’s no chance of escape…

(smow)blog: Briefly to Entre-Deux. Why the decision for such a form?

Konstantin Grcic: Because it isn’t such a concrete product. I wanted as a first statement, as a first trial, to do something that remained abstract. I use the term furniture, but it is not furniture in the sense of a chair or a table. It is not a piece of primary furniture rather it is something peripheral that only functions together with other objects and then it creates a space. And that is important. But also it enters a dialogue with the other objects, it gives then a stage and reflects them. And these were the main thoughts, commercial considerations were very much in the background. It is a very special, very personal response to that what already exists here . And from this point we go further.

(smow)blog: When we first saw Entre-Deux, our initial reaction was that it shows respect to the other pieces in the Azucena collection. It doesn’t say “I’m Konstantin Grcic and as of now I have the command here…

Konstantin Grcic: ….. Exactly  and its also a modest entrance. If one can say that. So I’m here, but not the centre of attention which was important for me at the beginning. In the coming pieces however it is important to be more self-confident and just as the company founders did back then to say “here we are and this is what we do”. Exactly what comes next is open, but there will definitely be further pieces.

(smow)blog: And finally, when we compare Entre-Deux with some of your earlier work, it comes across as a much more mature piece, not so playful…

Konstantin Grcic: … I am getting older! That’s sadly how it is! However I see that as a positive thing. I’m glad I’m not 25 any more or 30. I’ve definitely matured, I don’t think I’m more conservative, but with getting older comes a lot of experience, a shifting of interests, new things you want to try out, things that you’ve never done before. And I find that positive!

(smow)blog: We couldn’t agree more. And good luck with the future projects.


The designer and his work in the Azucena Villa in Milan

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