I Design Products “sort Of Like Frankenstein” Says Tom Kundig

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Seattle architect Tom Kundig has created a assortment of over 100 hardware items like drawer pulls, door handles, fire pokers and shovels. He spoke to Dezeen about his “modifiable, morphable” and growing product range (+ transcript + slideshow).

The Tom Kundig Assortment of steel accessories was launched in 2012 and new products have been additional each and every yr.

Tom Kundig Tom Kundig

“We’re coming at it as architects who are in fact making use of the items,” mentioned Kundig. “When we add issues to our assortment, it truly is normally since of an architectural undertaking.”

“It was a way to give us a handful of far more alternatives in the item world.”

Kundig, 60, is co-founder of Olson Kundig Architects, a practice identified for producing rugged, raw buildings, often in remote places.

The Sol Duc Cabin has a sliding steel exterior Olson Kundig’s Sol Duc Cabin has a sliding steel exterior

For example, the concrete and glass Pierre house sits between giant boulders, while the oxidised-steel Delta Shelter rests on stilts above a floodplain in Washington State.

Kundig described a weekend cabin in a national park as “practically indestructible” even though his collectors’ lounge at this year’s Design Miami/Basel fair featured stacks of tremendous timber beams.


Connected story: Pivoting steel doors lead into a home and photography studio by Olson Kundig


His firm’s projects also frequently feature ingenious hardware techniques, like windows that are opened with hand cranks, rural cabins mounted on wheels and a gallery with a facade that is lifted by gears and pulleys.

The Pierre house sits between large boulders The Pierre property sits among large boulders

The assortment of architectural goods, developed by Seattle foundry 12th Avenue Iron, comes out of necessity rather than a need to indulge in industrial design, Kundig said.

“Frankly, we’re not always item designers,” he explained. “We most likely don’t strategy it like a product designer would.”

“We appear at our merchandise line as a elements retailer, in which you go in and get diverse pieces and components from different drawers and assemble them. It’s sort of like Frankenstein.”


Connected stories: see far more from Olson Kundig Architects


Olson Kundig Architects was founded in 1967 and now has 130 staff. When asked about his favourite venture, Kundig stated it’s extremely hard to pick one particular.

“My favourite undertaking is my occupation,” he explained. “It would be genuinely tough to say what’s the pinnacle of anything. The pinnacle is the journey itself.”

“Which is what I enjoy about the accessory line: it truly is yet another journey, it truly is yet another path that prospects to locations that are unpredictable.”

The Delta Shelter is a remote weekend retreat in Washington StateThe Delta Shelter has exterior panels produced of weathered steel

Go through an edited model of the transcript from our interview with Tom Kundig:


Jenna McKnight: You launched your hardware line several many years ago, in collaboration with 12th Avenue Iron, a local fabricator. How did that come about?

Tom Kundig: They came to us with the notion. We had been thinking about it for a although, and they had been contemplating about it for a even though. They were the initial to technique us to do an accessory line.

At first, it was a way to give us a couple of more selections in the item world. It’s been terrific. When we add items to our assortment, it really is normally because of an architectural undertaking. The production line additions are responses to what comes up whilst we’re functioning.

Frankly, we’re not always product designers. We almost certainly never strategy it like a solution designer would. We’re coming at it as architects who are actually using the items.

Black Tables Tom Kundig’s Black Tables

Jenna McKnight: Is there a typical thread that runs via your merchandise collection?

Tom Kundig: When we started out developing goods, the intention was simple: to create modifiable, morphable merchandise. So, you can use a piece as a door take care of and maybe it will later morph into a light. Repurposing is the very best way to describe how the line is intentionally versatile. Pieces are meant to be utilised in different approaches.

Jenna McKnight: Is it easier to design products than buildings?

Tom Kundig: No, it’s diverse. In some approaches it is harder and in some ways it really is less difficult. It’s a tiny object, so you have to do mockups at a really micro level, and anything carried out at micro level is under larger scrutiny in a way. Just because it is smaller doesn’t make it simpler. It truly is just a diverse way of designing.

Droop Earless Cabinet Pull Tom Kundig’s Droop Earless Cabinet Pull

Jenna McKnight: How much time does it get to create a new product?

Tom Kundig: Actually, it requires a tiny even though to do R&ampD on some of these pieces, to make certain they are going to function. We search at our items line as a components store, in which you go in and consider diverse pieces and components from different drawers and assemble them. It is type of like Frankenstein.

Jenna McKnight: What new items are you working on now?

Tom Kundig: We have got a couple tips. A sconce is some thing we have been thinking about for a whilst. Also, we’re usually utilizing wheels in diverse ways. Occasionally that comes from consumers — they want to use a wheel as a fireplace display, for instance. And there’s doors, of program. And table legs, we have been pondering about those a bit.

Roll and Disk Tom Kundig’s Roll rollers and Disk wheels

Jenna McKnight: Has the hardware line been effective?

Tom Kundig: Profitable – that’s really an intriguing question. Achievement is always so tough to define. It truly is essentially producing some profit. Now how do you define profit? I never want to get as well complicated, but our startup study and improvement for products is not tracked individually from our architecture company, so it really is tough for us to say how worthwhile the line is.

It really is been a remarkable good results in that we’ve been ready to use the goods. The stuff is becoming purchased. It’s getting shipped to Australia, to Asia, to Latin America. We get requests from other architects who are making use of the hardware, which is rather cool.

A pavilion for the 2015 Design Miami/Basel art fair was made of charred woodOlson Kundig’s pavilion for the 2015 Style Miami/Basel artwork honest

Jenna McKnight: While I am positive the product line is maintaining you busy, what about your architecture? What projects are you operating on proper now?

Tom Kundig: There are so a lot of. I operate on comparatively small projects, and in order to keep the portfolio going, you have to perform on a great deal of projects. We have operate in Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Geneva, Seoul, the Austrian Alps – these are our farthest-reaching tasks. And of program we did the pavilion for Style Miami at Artwork Basel.

We have quite a bit of operate in New York, and that’s a genuinely terrific place for me to work. We also have work in California – in Los Angeles and Napa – and Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s sort of crazy in a way, but it really is also fantastic.

Jenna McKnight: What kind of tasks are these?

Tom Kundig: Some are mid-rise, multifamily, mixed-utilised tasks. We have a couple of hotels. Wineries appropriate now are total velocity – we have 1 in Canada and one particular in Seattle. We have a variety of residences, of program. Some retail shops. And museums: a natural background museum in Seattle and a museum addition in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It really is hard to maintain track of all this.

The Studhorse house is located in a remote area in Washington StateThe Studhorse property in a remote spot in Washington State

Jenna McKnight: As you might know, Dezeen just opened an office in New York, which is exactly where I am based. Can you inform me about your tasks underway right here?

Tom Kundig: I have a couple of residential tasks finishing up in Manhattan. I am performing an interior remodel of a warehouse in Prolonged Island City. I am undertaking a Williamsburg penthouse.

Jenna McKnight: Your firm is primarily based in Seattle, and a good deal of your perform has been in natural places in the Pacific Northwest. When you consider on a commission in a dense urban environment, like New York City, how do you make the transition?

Tom Kundig: Actually pretty easily. Architecture responds to its context. Certainly I adore the rural landscape, but I also love the urban landscape. If I’m functioning in Manhattan, I method the layout method in the same way: I search all around, I experience the location, I try out to understand its cultural typography.

Gears and pulleys are used to lift up the facade of this California galleryGears and pulleys are utilised to lift up the facade of this California gallery

Jenna McKnight: Do you feel New York sort of hogs the design and style spotlight? America is a big country, after all.

Tom Kundig: I do not know if hogging is the proper word. New York has a culture of design and style, and due to the fact of that, individuals are attracted to the city. That feeds the background of New York currently being a style center.

I feel it truly is very good to have a style centre like New York, London, Milan or Los Angeles – they are meccas in a way. That explained, the layout globe spans the globe, from Yakutat, Alaska, to the subcontinent of India. And the digital globe spreads the word.

tKnocker Tom Kundig’s tKnocker door knocker

Jenna McKnight: Are you a digital guy?

Tom Kundig: Absolutely not. I’m a luddite when it comes to anything at all beyond an iPad and a cellphone. I’m not experienced at the digital interface. But I recognise its relevance, and it’s extremely exciting to watch the changes happening. Definitely our office is engaged. They really like functioning in that world.

Jenna McKnight: Do you have a 3D printer?

Tom Kundig: The office does, but I have to request someone how to use it.

Plate Entry Door Handle Set and the tKnobler door lever Tom Kundig’s Plate Entry Door Take care of Set and the tKnobler door lever

Jenna McKnight: What’s the style and architectural landscape like in the United States right now? Is it a excellent time to be an architect?

Tom Kundig: I consider it truly is an exciting time, an evolving time. Surely there is a great deal of constructing going on. I don’t know if there is going to be great work. The evidence is in the pudding. It takes many years to evaluate what was developed.

Jenna McKnight: Who would you say is your greatest function model?

Tom Kundig: You know, there are a variety of architects whom I have constantly been inspired by. I just consider they are critical for me, they resonate with me: Glen Murcutt Steven Holl, who is a friend Peter Zumthor. There are so a lot of. A lot of my pals are just terrific architects. They’re functioning at a substantial degree of dedication and delivery.

Peek Sliding Door Pull Tom Kundig’s Peek Sliding Door Pull

Jenna McKnight: What is a single of your guiding beliefs?

Tom Kundig: I think architecture is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It’s rooted in the current and it anticipates the future.

Jenna McKnight: I know this might be a challenging question to answer, but what’s your favourite venture in your portfolio?

Tom Kundig: It is unattainable to pick. My favourite task is my occupation. It would be really challenging to say what’s the pinnacle of anything at all. The pinnacle is the journey itself.  That is what I really like about the accessory line: it truly is one more journey, it truly is another path that prospects to areas that are unpredictable. That is terribly fascinating.

Tom-Kundig-products_dezeen_468_14 Tom Kundig with his assortment of steel items

Jenna McKnight: What kind of designers do you employ?

Tom Kundig: We’re hunting for all-about designers. In our globe, that indicates becoming adept at technical design we have constantly hired men and women who can evolve a design and style into the technical realm. Also, individuals who can operate on all scales, from a large framework to an accessory.  The possible to do something that comes along – I consider which is the most important thing. I would just be bored stiff if I was not in a position to have choices.

Jenna McKnight: I think I know the reply to this, but: what excites you about the future?

Tom Kundig: The unknown, the pleasure of new territories and new ideas and new clients and new places. It genuinely is a great globe we live in simply because it’s so unpredictable.

Dezeen

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