TIMELY DE­SIGN

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NEARLY EV­ERY­THING KONSTANTIN GRCIC TOUCHES

be­comes iconic. The Ger­man in­dus­trial de­signer’s col­lab­o­ra­tions with Magis, Vi­tra, Laufen and Mutina, among other lead­ing brands, have yielded in­stant clas­sics. His work with Rado is no ex­cep­tion. In 2016, he teamed up with the Swiss lux­ury watch­maker to re­design its clas­sic Ceram­ica col­lec­tion, in­fus­ing the min­i­mal­ist time­pieces with a con­tem­po­rary edge, and gar­ner­ing high praise; his sig­na­ture Ceram­ica model, with a vel­vety matte fin­ish and a lim­ited 701-piece run, won a 2017

Red Dot Prod­uct De­sign Award.

Here, Grcic talks time and why ma­te­ri­als mat­ter.

What prompted you to ac­cept Rado’s in­vi­ta­tion for this project?

Col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween de­sign­ers and in­dus­try al­ways work on dif­fer­ent lev­els. When I first met the Rado team, there was a pleas­ant chem­istry be­tween us. A solid per­sonal re­la­tion­ship is the foun­da­tion of any suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion. Work­ing for any Swiss watch brand is unique, but the thing about Rado was that they brought their very own high-tech ce­ramic tech­nol­ogy into the equa­tion. Of course I was very tempted by that.

What is your re­la­tion to time and to watches?

I have a strong sense of time. I would even go so far as to claim that time re­ally mat­ters to me. Tim­ing is dis­ci­pline, but also some­thing quite sen­sual, el­e­gant. The right tim­ing plays a key role in life. I have al­ways been very aware of that.

I got my first watch when I was six years old, and I have been wear­ing watches ever since. I get up and put it on; I go to bed and take it off.

Rado is known as a pioneer in ma­te­rial in­no­va­tion – how im­por­tant are ma­te­ri­als in your work as a de­signer?

Ev­ery­thing we de­sign has a phys­i­cal di­men­sion. What is some­thing made of, and how? The right choice of a ma­te­rial de­ter­mines a prod­uct’s per­for­mance and longevity. And even be­fore that, it de­ter­mines how some­thing is pro­duced, which is a cru­cial busi­ness con­sid­er­a­tion.

What were the chal­lenges com­pared to other prod­ucts you’ve de­signed?

The real chal­lenge for me was the scale. A watch is just so much smaller than any of the other things we nor­mally de­sign ... Watches are about de­tails of the small­est scale – 0.2 mm, or 0.25 mm. It is very dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend those nu­ances, but they mat­ter a lot.

In 2016, Grcic re­designed Rado’s min­i­mal­ist Ceram­ica col­lec­tion, first re­leased in 1990. The col­lec­tion has new ad­di­tions for 2017: two high-tech, matte ce­ramic time­pieces – in soft black and grey (pic­tured) – with gen­tle curves.

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