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photo of Basecamp – Seattle Art Fair Visitor’s Lounge
Photo: Ryan Patterson / Olson Kundig

Basecamp – Seattle Art Fair Visitor’s Lounge

Seattle, Washington

Basecamp – Seattle Art Fair Visitor’s Lounge

Seattle, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Jim Olson

Basecamp celebrates the pioneering spirit of the Pacific Northwest, using wood, fabric, and native plantings to evoke the simple elegance of nature and bridge the fair with the surrounding landscape.

Basecamp explores the physical boundaries of indoors and outdoors, creating an open­air space that can be seen and experienced by patrons from both inside and outside the CenturyLink Field Event Center. The resulting lounge offers collectors and the public at large a series of comfortable spaces to rest, recharge and gather to reflect on the fair.

Basecamp is an open-air pavilion lined with a variety of evergreens, herbs, flowers and trees that reflect the lush greenery of the northwest landscape. As visitors move within the open‐frame wooden structure, guests experience the exposed materials employed throughout the space, from stretched red fabric and simple metal tables to custom‐designed wooden seating and benches designed by Jim Olson. Basecamp is punctuated by three 18-foot-tall open-frame luminous towers, constructed of lumber and red fabric, which evoke a maritime-industrial aesthetic with a playful nod to durable outdoor structures such as tents. A central tower separates the VIP and public seating areas while serving as a bar for each. As the sun sets, the red fabric towers become beacons, layering the interior spaces with a warm glow.

The design of Basecamp is componentized so that each of its parts can be reused, recycled or repurposed following the fair. From the perimeter structure and towers to the benches and seating and plants, Olson’s design honors the precious natural resources that the Pacific Northwest is known for. When the four­day fair concludes, the framing will be donated to Sawhorse Revolution, a local non‐profit carpentry education program. The custom-designed benches and seating will be repurposed and the plants will be returned to the nursery for future use.

Though  the  VIP  and  public  spaces  are  technically  separate,  Basecamp is  egalitarian  in  its underpinnings, a space designed to feel open and airy for all. The public entry offers open seating while local food trucks provide one-of-a-kind edibles. The soundtrack for the space is provided by Seattle-based independent record label SubPop Records.

The Seattle Art Fair takes place in mid‐summer when Seattleites like to head for the woods, water and mountains. Basecamp brings that Northwest love of nature right into the Fair. Jim Olson, FAIA, Design Principal