Magliana Project is a minimalist collection created by Berlin-based designer Konstantin Grcic for Giustini / Stagetti. Inspired by the building principles of Pier Luigi Nervi, the author of major architectural and engineering works, Konstantin Grcic’s project presents a corpus of limited edition furniture, consisting of modular tables with integrated seating and suspension lighting, all executed entirely in concrete according to the most innovative techniques developed from the latest studies on the material, and its small scale application. Given Konstantin Grcic’s interest in the work of Pier Luigi Nervi and the areas of over-lap in the two master’s vision, it was decided to present Grcic’s project in a building that is emblematic of the great Italian architectural-engineer’s celebrated history: the only surviving pavilion (Padiglione) from the larger campus of ready-made buildings occupied by the firm “Nervi & Bartoli”, the company founded by Nervi in 1932, which from the 1940s was headquartered in the Magliana area of Rome.
This small masterpiece of engineering, which today serves as parking lot, is an important historical record of the first experimental use of ferro-concrete: among the most revolutionary inventions by Nervi. The innovation allowed by ferro-concrete, given its strength and elasticity resulting from its steel-mesh and concrete composition, allowed Nervi to overcome structural issues resulting from the overall weigh and load-bearing capacity of cement. It simultaneously guaranteed the vertical “dynamism” of his designs and a construction aesthetic that would previously have been unthinkable in architecture. Today, the creation of fibre re-enforced concrete has allowed cement to be applied to a series of new uses owing to its increased strength and significantly reduced weight; additionally the material’s surface can be more uniformly finished and consequently the material can be deployed for a greater range of applications. In the case of Grcic’s practice, on the practical level, fibre re-enforced concrete has allowed its application to the creation of functional objects for daily domestic use, while on a formal level, its qualities permit the precise reproduction of the design including his characteristic signature motifs: geometries, volumes and perspectives.
“Magliana Project” specifically presents an important compound of Grcic’s on-going research in two distinctive areas of design: lighting and seating – terrains in which his projects have always contributed to the definition of a new vision or watershed moments in the field, through his humanist approach to the object, its functionality, and its conceptual and aesthetic qualities. In this regard the pylon/seat and the suspension lamp have been subject to long, in-depth engineering studies that have resulted in the attainment of a highly iconic, perfect balance of form and function. In sharing certain distinctive traits of Nervi’s expressive engineering aesthetic, such as formal coherence, structural dynamism, the monumental archetype and above all his ‘honesty to materials’, Konstantin Grcic pays homage to the great Italian genius with his latest work, which is destined to become a new classic of his repertoire, and of collectable design at large.
Photography by Omar Golli
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