Konstantin Grcic's clear glass furniture collection
The designer's sleek new Man Machine range pairs industrial strength panes with gas pistons
Galerie Kreo in Paris has a great reputation for helping to oversee esoteric output from top-notch designers. Sometimes the owners Clémence and Didier Krzentowski ask their collaborators to produce bespoke items for sale, and at other times pieces are for exhibitions at the gallery in the 6th arrondissement.
For their latest show, the Krzentowskis invited industrial designer extraordinaire and Phaidon author Konstantin Grcic back. Grcic started making works for Galerie Kreo ten years ago, and most recently a displayed some glass-topped tables. This current show is also a display of glass, but Grcic goes the whole hog this time, fabricating almost the entire range from the material.
Grcic says that "for obvious reasons [glass is] not the most natural material for making furniture." However, for these pieces he's selected architectural, industrial-strength stuff.
The collection, Man Machine - a title borrowed from a 1978 Kraftwerk album - is an exploration of "the relationships between exterior and interior, fragile appearance and real practicality, potentialities and tautology, human mechanics and the power", says the gallery. It includes a chair, a couple of tables, a bookshelf and some boxes.
It's a lovely set. The moving elements in each piece is "achieved by using industrial gas pistons, a kind of magic muscle", Grcic explains, "The performance and leverage of each gas piston is customized according to the exact movement required."
So the chair's piston alters the backrest's position, the bigger table can be cranked up and down, the big boxes' lids open and close, and the bookshelves boast sprung bookends.
The Krzentowskis have high hopes for Man Machine, expecting that it "will write a new chapter of its own, so singular is the collection and so imposing in its purity".
It certainly is starkly simple range. For more on this go here. To learn about another innovative furniture designer who worked in toughened glass, consider our Shiro Kuramata book.