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photo of Outpost Basel at Design Miami/ Basel
Photo: Kevin Scott / Olson Kundig

Outpost Basel at Design Miami/ Basel

Basel, Switzerland

Outpost Basel at Design Miami/ Basel

Basel, Switzerland

  • Design Principal

    Tom Kundig

Outpost Basel, the Collectors Lounge at Design Miami/ Basel, Switzerland, was on view June 16 – 21, 2015. The design brings together diverse geographic, material and cultural elements from America, Japan, Austria and Romania to create a high-design space made from everyday materials.

Kundig plays with the idea of being an outsider, bringing a collection of highly contrasting influences and functions, which he unifies to make a harmonious and inspirational space. An idea of yin-yang runs throughout, shown through the interplay of shaded and well lit areas, dark and light materials, as well as space for refuge and for being seen. The result is an enjoyable retreat in which to reflect on the design fair, meet friends or just relax.

From a distance, Outpost Basel appears to be a simple dark cube at the west point of the exhibition hall. But as visitors walk closer, they see the textures and complexity of the structural design. Guests are welcomed by hosts, who will roll open an iron-wheeled ‘X’ door, revealing a vibrant inner sanctum of lounge and restaurant areas. Seattle-based media artists Glymmer created an interactive projection-mapped digital installation for the interior of the lounge.

Kundig works with commodity materials to create this high-design space from re-purposed structural elements, in a continuation of his love of ‘hot-rodding’. These include wood formwork and bricks generously supplied by innovative Austrian company Schweighofer. Two distinct adjoining volumes, one semi-open space and one a taller solid box made of wood bricks, together form Outpost. A tribute to the 10th Anniversary of Design Miami/ Basel in the form of a repeated X- shaped pattern wraps the exterior of Outpost Basel.

The design of Outpost Basel is adventurous yet grounded, the interiors both intricate and bold. The use of space in the Collectors Lounge allows Outpost to play host to a variety of activities, including the Design Talks, a series of panel and one-on-one discussions with the leading lights of the design world; a bar serving fine champagne from Perrier-Jouët and a restaurant where guests can regroup and refuel before continuing their exploration of the fair.

It’s a great honor to make this space for Design Miami/, and to work in Basel, Switzerland. We each carry many influences with us—both my parents are Swiss, although I am American. With Outpost, I wanted to explore this idea through bringing different elements together in Basel. I like to mix old techniques and robust materials with innovative methods of making, so there will be crafted ironwork. Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA