As the metaphoric dust settles following another Milan Salone del Mobile (not to be confused with the ash from that pesky Icelandic volcano, which did its best to keep the great and the good of the international design press stranded in Italy), Architonic brings you a series of engaging interviews with some of the most influential designers working internationally. We’re calling them the Milan Conversations.
The plethora of design blogs and design journals available to us these days means that you can get a pretty good idea of what’s been launched at any particular design fair without packing that suitcase with comfortable shoes and business cards. The real value of going to somewhere like Milan are the encounters that you have, not with new products but with other people. It’s probably the design industry’s most productive and rewarding way of exchanging information, ideas and enthusiasm. It’s about inspiration.
In this first installment of the Milan Conversations, Architonic talks to Compasso d’Oro-winning, Munich-based Konstantin Grcic about his new collaboration with leading British design brand Established & Sons (whose show, in an indoor pelota court, was monumental in scale) and how he had to learn to let go. We also talk to Sebastian Wrong, founding member and design development director of said brand, about irony, sustainability and the thinking behind the company’s new own-label collection.
(The interview was held by Simon Cowell)
Architonic: It seems quite fitting that we’re standing in a pelota court, as the Established & Sons brand seems to express the idea of play. Humour and irony appear to run through it.
Konstantin Grcic: And the idea of competitiveness. That’s what I like about them. They are really showing muscles. They are only six years old and they’re renting a space that’s larger than any of the traditional companies that have been around for decades. There’s something like a sporty ambition that they have, which fits the space as well.
Your work has in the past often shown a strong sense of analysis and rigour, and form is well considered. What was it like working for the first time with a manufacturer whose products are sometimes more playful, more relaxed? Was the process different?
Yes. The only reason for starting a collaboration with a new company is to do something new. The decision to work with Established & Sons was the joy of new territory. Something completely outside my other experiences. Who the company are and what they’ve done over the years forms one pool of information for me. The other one is purely my own: what have I done and where do I see a niche of new territory for myself. Working with textiles, working with soft materials. Exploring a more organic language of things. Comfort in a totally different way than I normally treat comfort. Or discomfort. All of this was important for me as a consideration. I like that. A designer should be considerate in many different ways. Work is not something you just pour out. There’s always context to it. The company you work with is a context. You have your own context. Even the year 2010 is different from what I would have done last year.
continue the interviews @ Architonic