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Photo: Angela Hau

Olson Kundig New York

New York City, New York

Olson Kundig New York

New York City, New York

Olson Kundig’s new East Coast office extension underscores the firm’s ongoing commitment to and investment in urban spaces. Located in Midtown Manhattan, near Bryant Park, the Morgan Library and the Empire State Building, the office provides workstations for team members as well as conference rooms and space for events. This office creates a new hub from which to nimbly support clients and projects, while fostering cultural exchange and design dialogue between New York and Seattle.

The new office occupies the 10th floor of a mid-rise tower built in 1923, with views of the busy urban streetscape to the north and the rich architectural interest of surrounding buildings to the south. Wood insertions, including workstations and shelving, add warmth to the predominantly concrete and glass condition. Additional furnishings – including vintage and repurposed pieces – complement this earthy color palette, further introducing natural textures and materiality to the interior.

The office is anchored by a signature gathering and event space known as the Living Room. Here an oversized, 144-square-foot table, designed by Tom Kundig and fabricated by Spearhead, evokes a table laden with candles or a conceptual cityscape rising from the landscape. Created from a tapestry of raw timber offcuts, representing both Olson Kundig projects and the work of other architects, the table introduces a physical embodiment of Pacific Northwest design culture within the new office space. An integrated turntable and record collection curated by Seattle’s Sub Pop Records further underscores connections to Olson Kundig’s home in Washington State and the wider culture of the firm. To support a range of different configurations, the table is mounted on wheels and divided into quarters – each measuring six feet by six feet and weighing 800 pounds.

“The design of the table was really the crescendo of a conversation that Alan and I had, about our memories of gathering around a table with our teacher Astra Zarina in her home in Campo dei Fiori in Rome. She would have a pile of fantastic candles in the center of the table, and we’d all have negronis and sit in conversation together. So the design is a love note, back to Astra and her table and the community that gathered around it. That spirit of collegial conversation and sharing is what are looking to nurture in this new office space, so the table felt just right.” –Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Table Design

Curated artwork will feature heavily in the new office, continuing the firm’s longstanding tradition of making art a part of everyday life and integrating diverse forms of creative expression into its workspace. A raised platform between workstations frames a small display area that extends the vision of The Ledge, a gallery founded within Olson Kundig’s Seattle office in 2011, to New York. Dedicated wall space throughout the office will host paintings and other works, while a wide “runway” between workstations and the kitchen can host sculptures and free-standing pieces. Even the office kitchen, curated in monochrome black, evokes a Louise Nevelson installation. In the Living Room, custom casework features a rotating collection of study models and prototypes highlighting Olson Kundig’s innovative design approach and sense of craft.

Opening a New York office space allows us to share a bit of the Pacific Rim and our ‘unstable edge’ mentality with the East Coast, forging new relationships and opportunities for collaboration. That influence goes both ways, of course – shared cultural events and firm culture creates a river that flows between the two cities, exchanging ideas and energy back and forth. Alan Maskin

Team

Photo: Tamarack Media Co.
Photo: Tamarack Media Co.
Photo: Tamarack Media Co.
Photo: Tamarack Media Co.