Konstantin Grcic's Myto chair
Konstantin Grcic’s Myto chair

In 1999, the German designer Konstantin Grcic unveiled the Mayday Lamp, a sleek contraption inspired by the lighting in auto repair shops. Produced by Flos, the lamp went on to win the prestigious Compasso d’Oro award, and over the next decade, Grcic (pronounced GEAR-tchich) became one of the world’s most sought-after industrial designers. Through January 24th, the Art Institute of Chicago mounts the first solo exhibition of Grcic’s work in the United States. It’s a first for Grcic and a first for the museum’s new Modern Wing, where a large portion of temporary exhibition space will be devoted to—gasp—a design show. “We want to show that works of design can be as illuminating about our social and cultural life as works of art,” says Zoë Ryan, the Art Institute’s Neville Bryan Curator of Design. Inspired by Grcic’s love of Formula One racing and fast cars, Ryan has designed the exhibit around a mini “racetrack.” There won’t be any cars per se, but visitors can test Grcic’s Myto chair, the first cantilevered, mass-produced plastic seat since the Panton chair in the 1960s. Given Grcic’s love of cars, it’s not surprising that the chair is made of an exceptionally sturdy plastic used in the automotive industry.

GO: Nov. 18th-Jan. 24th at the ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO 111 S. Michigan Ave.; artic.edu


Photograph: Courtesy of © Plank