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.