On Design: Konstantin Grcic

The Desk Chair According to the Lauded Industrial Design Iconoclast

Konstantin Grcic's take on the ‘Box’ chair launches a new series inviting designers to ruminate on an item of particular significance to them. Created in 1975 by Italian Enzo Mari for Castelli, the functional, desk-bound star of today’s first installment of On Design was devised to be self-assembled and easy to dismantle for storage. It was Grcic’s own model for a chair, Chair One for Magis, which launched his career, becoming a design classic that is today held in the permanent collections of New York’s MoMA and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Originally trained as a cabinet maker, Grcic made the bold step into industrial design before studying at the Royal College of Art, London. “As a craftsman I became so fascinated by machinery and this idea of working through the processes and limitations of design,” explains Munich-based Grcic, who remodelled the interior of an apartment in Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse earlier this year and has collaborated with brands including Flos, Magis and Iittala. “The machine really forces you to work and think as a designer.”
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    Eating at Il Pellicano

    Celebrating the Charmed Life of the Tuscan Hotel and its Chef Antonio Guida

    Raised in Puglia in southern Italy, in 2002 Antonio Guida moved north to Tuscany’s Argentario coast to become Sous Chef, and then Head Chef, of the prestigious Hotel Il Pellicano. Today’s super-8 film by Leigh Johnson captures Guida’s complex gastronomic flair that has earned the restaurant two Michelin stars and three Gambero Rosso forks, and the timeless allure of the Marie Louise Sciò-owned retreat. “Antonio is humble and likes to keep all the fruits and vegetables local,” says Sciò. “Food has to talk about the place, and here, it does.” Guida’s beguiling dishes—including squid-ink risotto, fig-fed chicken and licorice parfait with tobacco leaves—feature across visceral spreads shot by Juergen Teller in Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano, the book recently published by Violette Editions with a foreword scribed by Will Self. “We always try to improve and evolve the dishes,” explains Guida, who has trained in Paris with Pierre Gagnaire. “For example, a simple risotto nero di seppia started life with baby squid and then we added turmeric flavored rice cream and garnished with edible flowers and sage from our garden. The most important thing is achieving a balance within the flavors, and having fun with the colors.”

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    China Now

    Crystallizing the Creative Harmony at the Heart of China's Urban Explosion

    “Everyone is trying to find that new Chinese voice,” muses architect Lyndon Neri in this meditative documentary by director Thomas Rhazi. China Now spotlights the fertile state of creativity in the world’s most populous country, through interviews with luminaries of Chinese art, publishing and architecture. Neri appears with his wife and professional partner, Rosanna Hu, alongside Jérôme Sans, co-founder of Beijing consultancy Perfect Crossovers and former Director of the city’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, and Shaway Yeh, the Group Style Editorial Director of Modern Media Group whose flagship title, Modern Weekly, boasts a wider circulation than the Chinese edition of Vogue. Shot in Shanghai and Beijing, the smoggy skies and steel-and-glass skyscrapers articulate the enormous scale and rapid pace of China’s development, yet the architecture picked out here offers a sanctuary amidst the confusion. For Neri & Hu’s award-winning boutique hotel The Waterhouse, the architects embrace the public nature of traditional Shanghai lane houses, while collective living is a feature of the Ai Weiwei-designed Caochangdi village in Beijing, where a thriving hub of artists live and work alongside farmers and migrant workers. Yet despite the country’s budding energy and certain creative freedoms, China itself is unknowable for the artist, according to Yeh. “It’s a place that’s still in flux,” she says during today’s short. “It’s constantly reshaping.”

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